“After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions.” (Luke 2:46)
The evangelist Luke tells us that the boy Jesus spent time in the temple talking with the religious teachers there. We don’t know what they talked about, but we know that Jesus put himself in a place where he could have meaningful spiritual conversations with others.
A seminary is a far cry from a temple but on this point they are similar: a seminary is a place where people come to have meaningful spiritual conversations with others.
Monday and Tuesday this week were orientation days for our new students at Trinity: orientation not just to the how-to’s of seminary but also to the seminary community. Lots of introductions, lots of sharing of faith journeys and call stories, lots of hopes and dreams for the future. God has blessed us this fall with a diverse community of students. About half are Lutheran; the others represent a variety of faith traditions, including Baptist, Disciples of Christ, and Nazarene. Several are “pipeliners,” coming to seminary right after college. Others are second-career students, some for whom a call to ministry is relatively new while others are finally responding to a call they’ve been discerning for years. One student completed her M.Div. before she became Lutheran; she is at Trinity for necessary Lutheran coursework for ordination in the ELCA. Two other students began their seminary studies elsewhere but have transferred to Trinity for the in-person learning and a deeper sense of community.
Some of our new students are called to pastoral ministry. Another works for two Christian non-profit organizations and believes that seminary studies will enhance his ministry. Several others feel called to theological study, without yet knowing where that might lead them.
The conversations so far have been rich. As classes begin today, I expect the conversations to become even richer and the bonds of community to become even stronger.
Forming leaders for Christ’s church at work in the world – it’s an exciting and rewarding mission to which Trinity has been called, and we rejoice in the students God has called to join us in this mission!