Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honor. Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers.
~ Romans 12:9-13
A few weeks ago, the teenagers in Trinity Lutheran Seminary's Summer Seminary Sampler high school program participated in a four-day youth interfaith dialogue where they had the opportunity to meet Jewish and Muslims students from Columbus, Ohio.
Together the students chewed kosher dinners, pondered existential questions, shared stories of their holiday traditions and deconstructed social stereotypes. As they opened their lives to one another, I noticed these students shared a common bond of faithful living. They were proud to share stories of how God interacted with the prophets of old. Many of them also noted how God is still at work in the world today both in personal and communal ways.
On the last day of our interfaith event, we traveled to the Mid-Ohio Food Bank and worked side by side packing food boxes for our elderly neighbors. Each faith tradition shared how God desires God's people to share some part of themselves with others whether that is time, resources, or self. Each of these students felt a common call to give faithfully to their neighbors through this activity.
As Christians, God calls us--the whole community--into faithful action. The students from all three faiths seemed to exhibit pride and joy as they described their relationships to God and to each other. Moreover, they were happy to serve God as a representative of their community at the Mid-Ohio Food Bank.
May we also find delight in our Christian service, not for our own selfish reasons, but out of overflowing joy from the knowledge that God has called us and loves us.
Dear God of Abraham, Isaac, Ishmael, and Jacob,
Thank you for opportunities to learn more about you and all your people. Help us to be genuine in acts of loving kindness and joyful in our service to others. Gently show us how to extend hospitality to strangers, so we may continue to share your merciful love with others. We pray all this in Jesus name, amen.
Associate in Ministry Laura Book
Assistant Director for Admissions and
Summer Seminary Sampler
Trinity Lutheran Seminary
This monthly devotion has been sent to you from the Covenant Cluster seminaries of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Covenant Cluster schools include the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago (Chicago, Illinois), Trinity Lutheran Seminary (Columbus, Ohio) and Wartburg Theological Seminary (Dubuque, Iowa).