Four days. Seven Lutheran college students. One red minivan. Hitting the highways with the Lutheran Student Association at the University of Maryland, College Park, was more than an adventure. It was a spiritual experience.
The four-day road trip last May included a mix of vocational discernment, volunteer work and quality time with Mother Nature. The group visited the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg (Pa.); Mar Lu Ridge, a Lutheran outdoor ministry near Frederick, Md.; Lake Anna State Park in Spotsylvania County, Va.; and Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church, Fredericksburg, Va.
|As a service project, campus ministry students at the University of Maryland, College Park, cleared weeds and cleaned up a prayer labyrinth at Mar Lu Ridge, an ELCA outdoor ministry near Frederick, Md.|
At the seminary, Virginia Price, an ELCA pastor and director of admissions and spiritual formation, and Julie Stecker, associate director of admissions, led a session on vocational discernment. College students grapple with this subject on a regular basis. Is this the right major? Am I pursuing the right career? Price and Stecker emphasized that people don't need to choose one path in life. God calls each of us to serve others in the way that brings us the greatest joy.
"That conversation further directed my attention toward the things that God is calling me to do, and how to use scientific knowledge [that I love] to help others," said Danielle Pedersen, a junior majoring in kinesiology.
Price and Stecker focused on Scripture (Micah 6:8) and a quote from theologian Frederick Buechner: "The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world's deep hunger meet." Throughout the trip, during car rides and at campsites, the students reflected on the meaning of those words from Scripture and a great theologian.
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