Joshua first connected with Lutheran Campus Ministry during his freshman year, when we were conducting our ministry events virtually due to the pandemic. He knew a little bit of Christianity, as his grandparents were churchgoers, but he had only attended worship a handful of times during his life. Finding himself away from home, and curious about faith, he connected with our Thursday night faith conversation group.
Our pastoral intern, Vicar Leif Kratzke Nelson, met with Joshua to discuss his questions about faith. Later, when we began meeting in person again, Joshua attended a small group series that Sami led about Caring for Creation. As a forestry major and nature lover, Joshua was interested in how faith connected with ecology, and found himself drawn into the group.
After attending worship for much of a semester, Joshua decided he was ready to be baptized. I was blessed to meet with him to discuss his understanding of Christianity, the sacraments, and what a life of faith looks like.
And on Sunday, May 1, Joshua was welcomed into the church universal, hearing the words that we speak each time someone is baptized: “Joshua, child of God, you have been sealed by the Holy Spirit, and marked with the cross of Christ forever.”
One of the deepest gifts of baptism is the ongoing experience of mercy and grace that we experience and remember through our participation in the Body of Christ, God’s holy church. Our faith community reminds us again and again that we are God’s beloved children, to whom God’s sustaining spirit is always present.
Dozens of students are reminded of this promise each and every week when they come to a campus ministry event. And more and more, we are meeting students like Joshua, who are hearing this promise for the first time, and coming to know God’s mercy in a new and profound way.
This ministry is as vital as it has ever been.