Saturday, December 04, 2010

Only Offering A Prayer

Here's the manuscript from a temple talk I gave last Sunday to my home congregation of Emanuel Lutheran in Manchester, CT:

When Pastor Cady asked me to speak here today about my experiences so far at the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia, I knew I wanted to be brief, but wow… I also knew that there is a lot I could talk about. My first semester at LTSP has been an amazing opportunity to grow, learn and discern God’s call. The academics have been rigorous, the community has been amazingly supportive, and the worship life there has been greatly nurturing. I’d go into how I’ve benefited from all those things in great detail (and I’d be happy to do so if you want to chat more after worship), but really, and in the interest of brevity; one quick story sums it all up.

Right across the street from the seminary there’s a Wawa, a typical convenience store that I often head over to during a late study night or the occasional evening when dinner isn’t very good at the refectory. There’s one man I’ve seen a few times there in particular, sitting on a curb in front of the store, asking for spare change. For my first couple months at LTSP, I’d occasionally give him a quarter if I had one, but more often than not I’d awkwardly mumble that I had nothing to give. A few weeks ago on my way into Wawa, I was asked again by this man to spare some change. Almost automatically I told him I could offer no money, but I could offer to pray for him.

Since that day I’ve had a couple brief conversations with him, which have led me to consider poverty and homelessness from a deeper theological perspective than ever before. Saying a prayer for someone in a convenience store parking lot isn’t all that amazing… it should be a common occurrence, its something we should all be able to do as Christians and its something that we’re called to do. That said, only after spending time at LTSP was I empowered to get up the courage and speak with that man on a deeper level than apologizing for not having any change… recognizing Christ in “the other.” While this simple act wasn’t amazing, the community at LTSP and my education there is proving to be, and I greatly look forward to continue growing and exploring my call to public ministry while there. Thanks for all of your continued support, and God bless.

1 comment:

  1. This is such a beautifully written (and I'm sure just as well spoken) reminder to live the passionately caring life I learned to live.

    We (I) get so caught up in the daily grind that the things that are actually important slip a bit. It was nice to read about your experience and it's even nicer to hear you're happy and doing well.

    Hope you've had a wonderful holiday season, Dustin, and best wishes for a spectacular new year :)

    Be well,