Pastor Larson’s Corner: God’s real presence
The idea that God is present in the natural world is a basic Biblical view. Martin Luther called it, “The real presence of God.” This idea that God can really be present in the natural world enables us to believe that God is really present in the bread and wine of Holy Communion. It also enables us to believe that in some mysterious way God lives in us and in our every neighbor.
Several years ago a survey was taken of seminary students to learn if there were any particular things that influenced their decision to enter the ministry. They discovered that the one thing most of the students had in common was that they attended Bible Camp as young people. Just spending time each summer being close to nature had a profound effect upon these students over the years.
Several of my grandchildren spent a week at Bible Camp this summer. I always enjoy hearing their enthusiastic stories of all that they did at camp. Here in Minnesota we have over 50 Lutheran Bible Camps to choose from. One of the first things that Lutheran Churches did here in Minnesota and around the country was establish Bible Camps. Several congregations would band together, purchase property on a pristine northern lake, build a camp, and start sending kids up for a week of communing with nature. The church has always known that sending kids out into nature was a surefire way of getting them connected to God.
I hope that you had a chance this summer to reconnect with our creator God as you spent some time out in nature. It has always been an excellent way to connect with God ever since Jesus went out into the wilderness to pray and to be really present with his disciples.
Pastor Larson’s Corner is written by Jerry Larson and appears weekly in the Norwegian American Weekly.
Pastor Jerry Larson retired to his cabin in Zimmerman, Minn., after 39 years in parish ministry for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. In 2011 he published a book entitled “Speaking the Word Freely: Writing with purpose, preaching with power.” Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org
This article originally appeared in the Aug. 29, 2014 issue of the Norwegian American Weekly. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (800) 305-0271.