Once my first two trips to Luther were over I reflected that the drive there and back wasn’t too difficult. Certainly it’s long, but I enjoy podcasts so much that it seemed to make the time go by much more quickly. Couple that with my love of the Jennifer Fulwiler Show on the Catholic Channel on Sirius, and I stayed pretty engaged for the seven to eight hour trip.
It was with this bravado in mind, that I decided to sign up for a spring course on the Bible and ecology. The class would be over two weekends in April, and I thought the trips would be nothing.
With a light-hearted spirit of adventure I made the first weekend trip up. I even made a fun stop at an antique mall to walk around.
Once I got to campus my usual building greeted me. Strange how after only a few visits a place starts to feel familiar and like home.
As with my previous trips I arrived a day early to get acclimated before the class started. I spread out my reading and writing to go over everything. Since I didn’t have a stapler with me, I ended up making use of the bobby pins left over from my brother’s wedding to hold my articles together.
The next day as I was preparing to go to chapel I realized that here I was in a class about the Bible, farming, and reading articles about the power of soil and seed while wearing the very subjects I was reading about.
Two pieces of jewelry that I love wearing are a rosary bracelet made from olive wood from Jerusalem. The bracelet has a small bit of dirt from Jerusalem tucked behind glass. On my other wrist I was wearing a bracelet with a mustard seed suspended in glass. Truly, I thought I must be the ideal student for this class. Ha.
The course itself proved to be very engaging as we broke into groups and discussed our contexts. We took deep looks at Biblical passages and heard great lectures. To make things even better, we saw what we were studying come to life as we traveled to some various sites around the twin cites.
Part of our experience included helping out with the creation of a community garden that was being organized by a local Lutheran congregation.
The weekend ended very quickly, and I was soon heading back home. The two weeks at home also passed by much too quickly, and I realized the trip back up would be more daunting.
Indeed, the second weekend was hard on me physically and in some ways emotionally. During my first trip a friend of mine from graduate school had died. I ended up making her a small tribute on campus by placing her initials on the grass.
The second trip felt heavy, but it was worth it. I learned so much. I also learned that taking a spring course over two weekends may not be so wise for me to do. I was extremely grateful to have the opportunity because I would be spending the summer in CPE, and I wouldn’t be able to get a summer credit on campus done. However, it was much more challenging to do the quick bursts of travel than I thought it would be.
Soon, our second weekend was over, and I returned home to complete my final assignment. As with many of my courses at Luther, we had the option to create a final project that could be used in a congregation. I love taking what we learn in a class and creating a mock series of workshops, Bible studies, or adult education events. Doing assignments like these helps me to envision how I can serve a congregation in education and discipleship. It also uses my skills from my teaching in a way that I really enjoy.
Overall, one of the greatest aspects of this class was that I really started to sense and feel a part of a community in a new way.
Let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them; let all the trees of the forest sing for joy. Psalm 96:12