A passage of scripture that has become so real to me in the days since the earthquake that has caused such devastation to Haiti is from James 4.
There were some seminarians from the Wartburg and Trinity seminaries of the ELCA in Haiti during the earthquake. One student, Ben Larson, lost his life in the quake. He was a senior, already approved to go into ministry following graduation, and he had a family.
We often take for granted the time we have on this earth. I am a second year seminarian spending my January term in Garrett County, MD. Ben was spending his January term in Haiti.
I anticipate returning safely to my husband and friends at Gettysburg Seminary to begin the Spring semester. I'm sure Ben anticipated returning to Wartburg for Spring semester, which would have been his last. He was looking toward graduation and first call. As one pastor said this morning, the church has lost a future pastor.
The passage from James warns us to not assume what tomorrow will bring. We do not know. Only God knows. God willing, I will go on internship next year in a rural or small town setting. God willing, my first call will be my only call and it will be in small town America. But, it is all in God's hands. As James reminds us,
"Instead you ought to say, 'If the Lord wishes, we will live and do this or that.'"
As I drive among the mountains of Garrett County, I hear them calling to me, inviting me into ministry in this kind of setting. It may or may not be here, but simply in a similar setting...or not. God help me to hear what the Spirit is saying regarding future direction. God knows, I do not.
We remember today in prayer the family and friends of Ben Larson who shared his hopes and dreams for life and ministry. May God hold them especially close in this time of sorrow.