With Christmas, New Year, and Epiphany observations behind us, Christians are now on our way to a Lenten journey that will take us to the cross, an empty tomb, and a future full of God’s promises.
In this bleak midwinter, however, it can feel as though these promises are so far off, distant, and abstract that they cannot possibly give us hope today.
But through the words of Isaiah, God tells us to look through the brokenness around us, through the pain of the former things, to a future so remarkable we cannot imagine it. “I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth; do you not perceive it?” God asks in Isaiah 43.
In our anxiety and daily preoccupations, it is easy to miss what God is up to. But God pursues us with a promise, lighting our way with the only truth that matters. “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are mine.”
This promise frees us to follow the Holy Spirit to places we could not have imagined!
Here at Luther Seminary, this means a hope-filled response to the many cultural shifts taking place in our churches. Christianity in America for centuries has been organized around institutional models that are breaking down. People are moving away from voluntary institutions in pursuit of individual self-expression.
Because Luther Seminary is called to educate leaders who will go boldly into the world to share good news of God’s promises to us, we are deeply curious about the “new things” that will meet the needs of a changing world. Relying on the academic rigor and theological depth that are the hallmarks of a Luther Seminary education, we are excited to live into several key “pivots” in 2024 and beyond.
Together, we will nurture a focus not on fixing the church but on wondering, discerning, and trying new things together. We will explore what it means to be disciples of Jesus in the world and flourishing members of a particular congregation. And we will work to understand what it means to be in Christian communities led by lay people as much as by clergy.
God will do many new things in this new year—things we cannot imagine but hope to perceive—because God has promised to do just that.
Peace and blessings,