Jill and Gretchen

Guest Blogger: You shall go to all to whom I send you

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Jill and Gretchen
(L-R) Jill Rode and Gretchen (Colby) Rode

Guest Blogger: Gretchen (Colby) Rode

Gretchen (Colby) Rode and Jill Rode are both members of Proclaim. Gretchen is the 2013 Joel R. Workin Scholar. 

I write to you as a newly married lady (legally in Minnesota!  Whoop whoop!) as of August 25th.  Being married (to the lovely Jill Rode) has been a wonderful life change.  Jill and I have been long distance for the last two years, so just being able to be in the same place for two months has been such a blessing.  Our wedding was an amazing time of worship with the people we love as they witnessed our vows and a wonderful time of celebration and partying afterwards.  It was awesome to be able to share this with our families (who have sometimes not been so excited about the same-sex marriage thing) and our friends who came from such distances to be there.  We are certainly blessed and continue to thank God for this time together.

In addition to being a newlywed, I have been spending this fall semester at Luther Seminary in St. Paul, as opposed to my usual academic home of Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary (PLTS) in Berkeley, in order to join my wife at school.  I have been welcomed so warmly by the Luther student body with whom I have great opportunity to interact not only in classes, but in also in my work as one of the baristas at the campus coffee shop (and who doesn’t like the person serving them cappuccino?).  Sometimes I like to pretend I’m an undercover seminary spy collecting all the top secret information about Luther.  It is in this capacity that I have located the books that are sold for a quarter, the tunnel connecting the library and the dorm, and the only office in Northwestern that gives out red licorice.  In my time here, I have noticed some key differences: I have heard more about Law and Gospel and the different uses of the Law (I won’t say if there are two or three, you can argue about that amongst yourselves) in the last six weeks than I have in my whole life.  And, I find myself missing the frequent conversations PLTS seems to cultivate about how we interact with pluralism and promote activism within our Lutheran identity.  However, when it comes down to it, what I’ve really noticed about these two seminaries (and would wager I’d find if I spent semesters as a spy at other seminaries) is that they are full of a lot of big-hearted students yearning to figure out what all this Bible, theology, and church history will mean for us when we’re serving parishes.  And, even more than that, what all this Bible, theology, and church history mean for us as Christians.  Because, as seminarians, we are dying to understand this call we have and to work through that call to share the love of Christ in the world.

In the next few weeks, my wife and I will be filling out our assignment paperwork and undergoing approval interviews as we finish our second-to-the-last semester of seminary.  We are leaning hard on this call that we feel from God to serve our church.  We are thankful that we are in a church which finally ordains clergy in same-sex relationships and we are nervous about where we will be called and how our relationship will affect those opportunities in our country which is oh-so-slowly figuring things out when it comes to LGBTQ people.  It is an exciting time; when the anxiety seems to perk up it helps to remember the promise and command that God gave Jeremiah: “You shall go to all to whom I send you, and you shall speak whatever I command you.  Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you.”

Paz, Gretchen (Colby) Rode
Joel R Workin Scholar 2013