As a lifelong Lutheran, now director of Lutheran Advocacy Ministry in Pennsylvania, a state public policy office of the ELCA, I’ve long understood our being as part of the body of Christ, called by the Holy Spirit into God’s reconciling and redeeming love for the world. Without mistaking the gift for the giver, we are invited to steward and delight in what God has created.
Growing up on a dairy farm in south-central Pennsylvania, it was easy to see and feel the interconnection with the earth and all things living – to spend daylight hours, all muscle and motion to feed family and neighbor, hands dirty with living soil and ears full of birdsong . It was easy, as night fell, to lie with back against the earth, smelling the sweet grass, listening to tree frogs, staring into the vast cosmos, and feel part of a sacred promise that made the vastness bearable.
At that time, we were just learning how even farmers who loved the patch of the world with which they felt entrusted could harm it unintentionally, and how many industries were harming it knowingly. I thought that when we knew better, we’d do better. I set my sights on a career in science; then, deciding that scientists needed good storytellers, I became a journalist, then a teacher before being drawn into this work from seminary.
It’s all been part of the same call – equipping God’s children to tell the story of the love that transcends all time, all space, all boundaries and calls and empowers us to do the same for neighbors we’ve never met and generations yet unborn — drawing us to be church together in this time and place, for the sake of the world God loves.