Growing up in Nebraska, I was always a Lutheran, not that there was any real choice in the matter but nor was there any desire to be something else. My mother’s side of the family was Lutheran and had been for generations right back to their Danish heritage. To me as a child, being Lutheran was just who we were.
One of my fondest memories of my early childhood was attending the Christmas services and hearing my Grandma sing in the choir. She had a booming voice in the choir and when she sang you knew it, instantly recognizing her from the rest of the choir. When I was in elementary school we switched churches to a Lutheran church closer to town and although I had a few less cousins at the new church, I gained several of my good friends from school. It was there that I was confirmed and attended youth camps and grew into a young adulthood. Going to college things changed a bit, there was no longer anyone to push me to get up for church service. Church became something I did on holidays or when visiting my parents on the weekend which wasn’t that often.
As with many young adults, college brought about some newfound questioning of life and how things worked. In my favorite studies of physics and astronomy, I was able to find the answers to what and how things worked but never really the why. When Kristina and I met we discussed our faith pretty heavily. She grew up Catholic in Germany and many of the issues she had with what she understood Church to be were rather resolved in the Lutheran Church so for us it was a pretty natural fit. Though she would quickly tell anyone that Lutheran churches in America are very different in a good way from the Lutheran churches she knew in Germany.
We knew we wanted to build our marriage on a bedrock of faith in Christ. We were married in my hometown Lutheran Church in Nebraska and yet even then we still rarely attended Church ourselves save only for special holidays or trips back to Nebraska to see my family. Once married and even though we knew we were on the same page about what role our faith would play in our lives there were still a few years of staying out late on Saturday night and sleeping in on Sunday morning. At some point in becoming an adult it was easy to start to think that I was in solid command of my life or that maybe I could control things more than I really could in this world. A sense of achievement and even pride took hold, fueling the thought that the good things in my life were there because I earned them.
I suppose it’s a variety of things that snap people out of this, but in my life I am quite certain what it was. What put Christ back at the center of my priorities was the birth of our son. It was the whole process really, from when we were praying to be able to start our family, to hearing his heartbeat, to seeing his face on the ultrasound, to hearing his first cry as he was born. There was never a time in my whole life that I felt less in control, or prayed more often, or felt more grateful for every single small moment. There is no amount of good I could have ever done to deserve these blessings and much like my salvation, I know they are only given through grace. Even now as we anxiously await the birth of our second son, I am reminded every day as I look at my wife and son that Christ is front and center in our lives.
At Trinity we have found a great place to worship, to serve and we have met several new friends. We are excited to be able to share worship each Sunday and for those fond memories to hopefully be what our children will also look back on one day.
—Hagen S., Council Member