The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


The back-to-school rush

“[Jesus] woke up and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, ‘Peace! Be still!’ Then the wind ceased, and there was a dead calm” (Mark 4:39).

As sunrise gets later and later and television ads proclaim, “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” I sense a disturbance in the force. And I have an uncontrollable urge to buy No. 2 pencils, even though I don’t need any. It’s that time again.

The first verse of a classic rock song may explain that disconcerting feeling:

Up in the morning and out to school.
The teacher is teaching the Golden Rule,
American History, Practical Math.
You’re studyin’ hard hoping to pass.
Workin’ your fingers right down to the bone.
The guy behind you won’t leave you alone.

(“School Days” by Charles Berry, 1957)

Although I work 40-plus hours a week in an office, and often in airports and hotels, that song painted an accurate picture of a typical day in my life. Perhaps a snapshot of a day in your life looks a lot like mine used to.

Mornings are often a scrambling scurry to get up, get fed, dressed and out the door. As we encounter conflicts in various situations, the Golden Rule itself is the teacher. American History—we are living it even as you read this. Practical Math—have you really balanced your checkbook? We work our fingers and brain cells right down and up to the bone. And there is that person behind you in traffic honking her horn because you aren’t ready to pounce as soon as the traffic light changes.

Life is our teacher, and class is always in session. But we don’t have to be pushed through life at a manic pace. We can choose to slow down.

As an undergraduate student, I attended a university that maintained the 18-week semester long after others had changed to the 12-week quarter system. We students had the gift of time: time to learn and time to enjoy what we were learning; time to goof off and make mistakes; and time to recover and finish stronger.

Our days on the journey in Christ with one another can be enjoyable, despite the flurry and obstacles we encounter along the way. By starting with 20 minutes of meditation and prayer in the morning, you can begin the day with stillness and dead calm, and be ready for all that the day, and ultimately life, will bring.

A former parishioner told me after he tried it: “I felt as if I had just had a massage.”

We may not be able to change the wind, but we can adjust the sails. May the calm that Christ brought to stormy seas be yours as you go on your way.

This week's front-page features:

A prescription for caring: N.J. congregation starts coalition to help people access medicine. (Photo at right.)

Cruzando: ServantLife. ELCA youth serve others at San Antonio gathering.

Update: Michigan Lutherans win award. Earth Keepers recognized.

Reading Paul (& Luther) today: New learnings boost our understanding.

Also: Knit Wits with a 'K'

Also: Deep soul

Also: Best this month: Confronted by God and Lassie

Read these articles at our front page > > >

This week on our blog:

Andrea Pohlmann blogs about a church that dismissed one of its Sunday school teachers because she's a woman.

Elizabeth Hunter writes about the struggle to eat healthily.

Amber Leberman blogs about the first person to take The Lutheran's 2007 topics survey. Can you guess where the survey-taker is from?

Kathleen Kastilahn blogs about college students returning to campus and the Lutheran ministries available to them.

Daniel Lehmann (right) writes about his meeting with the pastor of a new, multidenominational congregation in Kansas.

Sonia Solomonson blogs about a glimpse into a rural pastor's life and ministry.

Check out our blog (and leave a comment) > > >

Take our 2007 topics survey!

Help decide the topics for The Lutheran’s cover stories in 2007 by taking our survey. Last year, readers like you decided what we’d cover this year. Now it’s your turn. Tell us which 10 topics you’re most interested to read about in The Lutheran. The survey deadline is Oct. 15, and results will appear in the January issue.

Take the survey > > >

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