The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


A blessing from Iain

My life has been blessed in so many ways by the children in Celebration Depot, our Sunday school program at New Hope Lutheran Church, Monticello, Ind. This is just one story. When you read it keep these things in mind: no one sent Iain to fetch me, it wasn’t even close to my birthday and Iain usually bounces as he moves.

At this time last year two of our Celebration Depot projects were painting flowerpots and planting petunias for Mother’s Day. This took place in the churchyard near the shed. Several adults were helping with that project. I was in the library watching students decorate a welcome banner for our new pastor, Jim Ward, and his wife, Kathy. Into the library bounced Iain Garbison, a 3-year-old who is blessed with a lot of energy and a mischievous smile. He said to me, “Come, come with me. Shut your eyes. I have a surprise for you.”

He took my hand, and before I knew it he started leading me down the hallway toward a seldom used door. “Don’t be afraid. Just hold my hand,” he said. We took a few more steps, and he whispered, “I have a surprise for you.” We went out the door toward the road, then around again toward the back of the church. He was calm, slow and gentle as he led me. I whispered to God, “This is what trust is like, isn’t it?” We kept walking. “We’re almost there,” he said. “Keep your eyes shut.”

We arrived safely. “Open your eyes!” Before me were petunia plants galore—some of the pots were painted, some not yet done. “Surprise! It’s your birthday!” he shouted.

I’ll never forget that gentle walk with Iain. I received a blessing and a lesson in trust.

If you feel a nudge to serve God’s children, I hope you pay attention to it. But be prepared: Blessings will come when you least expect them, and you’ll receive far more than you ever give.

This week's front page features:

Good listeners: Lutheran agency mentors troubled youth in Virginia. (Photo at right.)

Honor goes both ways: Parenting is a divine office.

Wise words, wise women: Anthology spans 1,000 years.

With just one word: Daughter finds 'Mommy' the only word.

Also: Commonality in diversity.

Also: Reflections from the mother of a confirmation dropout.

Also: Visible & invisible community.

Read these articles at our front page > > >

Discuss mentoring troubled youth:

Discuss mentoring youth with Philip Day of Lutheran Family Services of Virginia. The conversation runs today through May 15.

“A mentor is there to be a friend, a good influence, a role model, doing things a kid likes to do, being a true friend, not a social worker,” Day said.

Consider reading "Good listeners" before joining in.

Join the discussion > > >

This week on our blog:

Our blog postings have been sparse this week due to our staff's synod assembly visits, vacations and moving our offices from the sixth to the fifth floor of the ELCA churchwide offices.

A couple of our staffers found free moments to blog, so check out what Sonia Solomonson (right) has to say about holy humor and Andrea Pohlmann's continuing comments on online community.

Check out our blog > > >

Introducing The Little Lutheran:

We at The Lutheran think it’s important to nurture the faith of the little ones in our midst. We developed The Little Lutheran for toddlers age 6 and younger to help them learn about God’s love for them and the world in which they live. We want them to know Jesus as friend and savior too.

Meet The Little Lutheran > > >

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Share your evangelism tips:

Reader George C. Weirick challenged the staff of The Lutheran: "Tell us about programs that work or unusual or new evangelism methods."

Send us your tips via email, with a brief description (two or three paragraphs), along with contact information for those wanting more background.

The staff reviews submissions and publishes the best as a regular item on the “Currents” pages.

Members: Respond online > > >

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February issue


Embracing diversity