The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Altogether gift

The gratitude of blessed moments lifts us to embrace our entire life as gift

Waves of gratitude periodically wash over me during my final days at The Lutheran (see note). They rise unbidden on a schedule unknown to me, teaching the ways of God’s Spirit in at least one human life.

Again and again, two words—thank you—form on my lips at the awareness that all I have, all that I am, even the crazy reality that I am at all, is altogether gift.

How did a rural pastor, one-time college dropout, who began writing longhand on legal pads in the middle of a wheat field, have 18 years of telling rich stories from around the globe, stories filled with the love of the One who has always haunted him? It’s an unlikely story. Had someone told me when I was 20 or 30 that life would develop this way, I’d have suggested that they lie down until their delusions passed.

Now I will be privileged to sit with students, faithful souls, called to ministry in Christ’s name. I look forward to watching with them for the impact of God’s living word shaping their souls and the service God seeks to give through them. I anticipate listening with them for the whispers of God’s unspeakable mercy among their days, delights and defeats, helping them see that their life is holy for it is a playground of the Spirit who is Life.

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