There is this interesting arrangement of crosses at the Developmental Center in Grafton.  I am not sure what the arrangement is meant to signify but the number and arrangement is a thought starter for me in this regard; we never know where our crosses are going to come from or how many there will be.  Jesus tells us to take up his cross, but there are other crosses we have in life.  Lutheran theology is a theology of the cross and God himself as Sasse says,  “has sent us into the hard school of the cross.”Later he says, “to those whose illusions about the world and about man, and the happiness built on these, have been shattered, the message of the cross may come as profoundly good news.”  It may, it can, and it does.

Our Lutheran Schools and school teachers are treasurers.  We up here in the North Country share these blessings and we should appreciate them more than we do.

Here is a note sent to students at Rochester Central Lutheran School in Rochester MN by the Principal, Ken Weinlaeder.

Mr. Weinlaeder’s thoughts:

After over 40 years of teaching, I know two things for sure.  I wear two chains around my neck to remind me of these two things.

The first chain has a cross on it.  The chain was given to me by my first youth group.  They gave it to me on the occasion of my departure from my first congregation in South Florida.  My years there had been times of remarkable spiritual growth for me and for them.  As is the case with many Lutheran Churches with schools, my youth group was made up primarily of high school kids that had attended the Lutheran School.  Since I had taught many of them when they were in middle school, my relationships with them and their families was quite intense.  Several of them still keep in touch. They wanted to make sure that I would always be reminded of God’s love for me.  The cross serves as a constant reminder that God sent his son to die for me.  My sins are forgiven and I will join him in heaven someday.

During my time there, I had come to realize that teaching in a Lutheran school was going to be my career.  I initially had other plans and had thought of Lutheran education as a means to get to a different place.  But during my time in North Miami I had come to realize that God also had a plan for me.  I began a search for God’s will that continues to this day.

The second thing that I have learned is that God’s will can be hard.  Once when I had become discouraged, God sent a former student to me to tell me of how much I had done for him.  This was a student that I had given up on.  It was then clear to me that God was telling me that he was in control.  At another time when money was tight and my family was growing, our car died.  I knew that I was going to have to find a more lucrative career for my family’s sake.  A check came in the mail from the estate of a great uncle that I didn’t even know.  It was the new car and another message from God that he was in control.

The other chain is a medic alert chain.  I have worn it since becoming a caregiver for my wife who was diagnosed with frontal temporal degeneration in August of 2010.  With FTD a protein that attacks brain cells leaves her unable to complete many usual tasks.  It has also disabled her short term memory.  The progress of her condition promises to not be kind to her, or to me, or to our girls.  I am glad that I can wear this chain with the other one.  This chain reminds me daily that God’s will can be hard.  But, because I wear it with the other chain that reminds me of God’s love for me, it makes God’s will something that I still seek and want.

The RCLS family has continuously provided me with their love and prayers and I remain committed as ever to RCLS and its ministry.  But the demands of being a caregiver mean that I am unable to continue to provide the leadership that my position demands.  I intend to retire at the end of December, 2012.

I share these matters with you so that as you continue to keep the RCLS staff in your prayers, you will also remember Cindy and my family.  I wish I could tell you what we need, but for now, what we need is what we have.  That is God’s assurance that we are loved by him.

Ken Weinlaeder, Principal

Rochester Central Lutheran School

They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?”  Luke 24:32

Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.

I Corinthians 12:27