Earlier this week, our community gathered with joy to celebrate our 154th commencement. In that sacred space before God and their family and friends, our graduates heard the living Word of our Savior echoing through the ages:
“Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” (John 20:21)
Commencement is a moment to cherish, a deeply meaningful ritual that connects us to faithful Christian leaders stretching back generations. It is a powerful opportunity for families and friends to gather in support of all the holy and challenging work our graduates have done, and all that they have yet to do.
Here at Luther Seminary, it is our privilege to walk alongside those whom the Spirit calls and sends out to Christian leadership. This leadership will take many forms for our newest alumni. But whether in the pulpit or at the bedside, through service work or digital ministry, Scripture reminds us that all are one in Christ: “Now there are varieties of gifts but the same Spirit, and there are varieties of services but the same Lord, and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone.” (1 Corinthians 12:4)
While this chapter of their formal training may be complete, we will continue to accompany the class of 2023 throughout their journeys of faith. In a rapidly changing world, leaders need ongoing opportunities to learn, reflect, connect, and grow. From peer learning communities to clergy coaching to on-demand courses, a growing suite of resources developed by Faith+Lead makes theological and practical education accessible and available beyond our degree programs.
Many of our alumni also attend the Festival of Homiletics, the annual conference on preaching and worship organized by Luther Seminary. This year’s festival happened to be held in Minneapolis just last week. I was struck by how the conference theme—“Preaching Hope for a Weary World”—so perfectly speaks to the work before our graduates. The leaders who graduated this weekend are faithful, creative, and deeply rooted in a Gospel witness. To paraphrase festival director Professor Karoline Lewis, who better to name hope into our world?
Thanks be to God for our 138 new graduates—the next generation of pastors, theologians, and congregational and community leaders of the church!
Robin J. Steinke