One of the newer additions to the chapel at Gettysburg is the font that flows freely outside.
A good remembrance of our baptism.
The statue of Martin Luther sits just off the chapel at what is now United Lutheran Seminary. I walked past this statue many times over the course of my seminary career.
One time, I even did an interview with Luther (with the help of another student).
Luther is an icon at the seminary – not surprising since it is a Lutheran seminary.
A fun fact about this statue of Luther – it is the only sitting statue of Martin Luther in the Western hemisphere. That’s pretty neat.
In May of this year, I graduated from Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg – part of the last class the seminary would graduate. The seminary was in the process of coming together with Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia to form what is now United Lutheran Seminary.
Graduating seniors had the opportunities to go up to the top of the old seminary building – the building that stood on the grounds of the Seminary Ridge during the start of the Battle of Gettysburg during the civil war. This is the same cupola that both Union and Confederate generals stood in on the first day of the battle (at different times of course) to survey the battlefield.
On the way up to the cupola we stopped on the top floor to admire some of the original wood and other interesting things.
Many of the floor boards on this level are originals. You can see the markings that show how the boards were pieced together.
And then there is this:
This is not an upside-down picture. For years, no one had any idea of what the round picnic table-like thing was stuck to the ceiling. There were all sorts of theories, but nothing that could confirm anything.
That is, until we were told by one of the professors who came along on the tour that he heard from a good source – a gentleman who was pretty old who attended the seminary years before – that the structure was designed to be a space for a punching bag. One of the students used the top floor as their own personal boxing/exercise space. Pretty interesting.
The last two weeks of my life have been unlike any other two weeks that I can recall.
Two Mondays ago, I left my home in the morning, met up with several other students, got on an airplane and traveled about 30 hours (flying time and layovers, etc) to Windhoek, Namibia. We were heading to the Lutheran World Federation Assembly there.
We stayed there for 7 days and then jumped on some planes last Tuesday and arrived back in Pennsylvania last Wednesday – tired and exhausted, but happy about the trip. I promise that I’ll be writing more about the trip in upcoming posts – along with some pictures too. I’m still processing the trip.
I got a nap (mostly because I don’t sleep well on long plane rides), got to use a real sauna, and got a shower. I was then ready for the senior banquet – a fun even for seniors at the seminary who are ready to graduate.
Then on Friday of last week there was graduation. A truly historical event in its own right. First, every graduation is historic because the graduating class is added to the history of the institution. Second, this would be the last graduation of Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg. The seminary will be merging with Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia come July 1 to form United Lutheran Seminary. It’s been a long road for LTSG. I’m proud to be a part of the last class. Again, there are lots to process here.
Then on Sunday I had my call sermon – and the congregation voted to call me as their pastor. Beginning June 26th, I’ll be pastor of St. Stephen Lutheran Church in New Kingstown, PA, USA. I’m pretty excited about this. And again, there’s plenty for me to process.
Because of all of these things, it’s taken me a bit longer than normal to get back to any type of routine with posting materials on social media and online. I haven’t been able to post a daily prayer or do my usual tweets about made up bible passages or do travel or theological posts here on the blog. I finally unpacked from Africa two days ago and I’m still working on going through the piles of paper on my desk to clear that off. I hope to start posting again tomorrow, but give me a little slack if I don’t – I’ll get there.
The next big thing is ordination – next Friday, June 2. Again, that will take some processing on my part.
And the biggest thing – figuring out the new normal. Classes are done, but I don’t start as pastor until the end of June. There is work that needs to be done around the house that I have been putting off for some time.
Let’s see what tomorrow holds. Blessings.
Today was Day 1 of the Blue Gray Cup soccer tournament for our nine-year old. It’s a two-day tournament. There are literally well over 100 teams, probably approaching 200 teams – I’m not exactly sure. The tournament boasts that around 1100 games will be played over these two days. The girls played four games today – quite impressive and exhausting. The first three games were mini-games (essentially half games to determine how they ranked for the playoffs. Result – 1 win, 2 losses. Close games. That one win was enough to put us in the #5 position out of eight teams. We played #4, the team we had just played and lost to 2-1. This time we won 2-1. It was an intense game and the girls played well – both teams. Tomorrow there are two more games. First game will be against a tough opponent who does not have a habit of losing very often. Then it’s either the championship if they win, or the third place game if they lose.
Here’s a few things I learned from today.
1. If you want the win, your mind has to be in the game. The girls were flat the first game and it looked like they were on their heels most of the game and hence we lost. The other games were much better because their heads were in the game and they wanted to win.
2. The sun can be a real killer. Having been in the sun for about 11 hours today, I’m burnt. I tried to stay out of the sun when possible, but when you are at a soccer field all day, that’s tough to do.
3. Parents can make or break a team. In our case, the parents are big time supportive of the girls and us coaches (there are three coaches). This is huge. Our parents are great parents. There’s no sideline politics or drama, just support. This can’t be stressed enough of how important this is. I’ve heard horror stories of the drama and politics that happen on the sidelines. I thank God every game that we have the team that we have and the parents that we have.
4. Warm-ups are important. Even just getting up and moving around and passing the ball. I think our first loss came because we were a bit rushed and the girls were a bit confused as to what all was going on.
5. Officials can make or break a game too. As well as the girls played, credit also goes to the referees. They did an excellent job of officiating the games all day long. I only saw one bad call, but really, that’s pretty darn good. When you can’t really remember the referee, that means they did a good job in letting the girls play, calling what needed to call and letting the game proceed at a good pace. kudos to the refs.
6. Likewise, kudos to the organizers of the tournament. It’s an excellent tournament, well-organized and well thought out. And it shows. Teams come from all over the Mid-Atlantic to Gettysburg to play in this tournament.
Today marks the last day of the semester for me. Except for a couple of random times that I’ll have to come down for odds and ends, it will be one of the last times I’m on campus for a couple of years. That’s a scary thought. I’ve grown very comfortable being on campus. It’s a beautiful campus. I’ve really enjoyed my time on the ridge. Thankfully, I’ll be able to come back when I’m a senior. I snapped a few pictures today for your enjoyment.
I went with my daughter on a field trip today. You’ll never guess where – Gettysburg. That’s right, the town I go to pretty much every weekday to attend seminary classes. In fact the seminary is on the battlefield. How ironic I would be on a field trip there. But today, I got to be a tourist. We had a great time and the tour guide was awesome – the kids really enjoyed what he had to say. I’ve got some lovely pics from the trip. Enjoy!
This pic is from the battlefield – the Southern line looking 1.5 miles over to the Union soldiers would have been.
This pic is at Little Round Top overlooking some of the area – including Devil’s Den.
More Little Round Top. This is a statue of Gen. Gouverneur Kemble Warren, who had the nickname of “Hero of Little Round Top.”
Even more Little Round Top, looking over at Devil’s Den.
Col. O’Rourke. This is the man who actually saved Little Round Top for the Union forces. I also wanted to take a pic because both he and I are from Rochester, NY.
Gen. George Meade – the commander of the Union Forces for the Battle of Gettysburg. The man was a strategic genius. He took over command three days after rising to the rank of General.
I took this at the National Cemetery at Gettysburg. The name is George Nixon. The last name sound familiar? This was President Richard Nixon’s great-grandfather. He served the Union from Ohio.
God is good all the time
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