The Lutheran Geek

The life and times of a WoW-playing, Java-programming dude in Chicago

Sunday, February 8, 2015

An engineer’s devotional

Back in 1998, I was a volunteer at Christ Lutheran Church in Albany Park. I worked there as a youth worker for a year through the Lutheran Volunteer Corps. Being right out of college, it was a great way to spend a year to start finding my way in the post-adult world, as well as to give back a little before I got consumed in the world of work. This past week, the pastor, Tom Terrell, contacted me and others asking us if we were willing to contribute entries for his congregation’s Lenten devotional. It was really great to hear from him, and considering what a crazy week this has been personally (more about that some other time), I accepted the opportunity. Here is my humble contribution.

O LORD, my heart is not lifted up,
my eyes are not raised too high;
I do not occupy myself with things
too great and too marvelous for me.
But I have calmed and quieted my soul,
like a weaned child with its mother;
my soul is like the weaned child that is with me.
O Israel, hope in the LORD
from this time and forevermore.

— Psalm 131 (NRSV)

These days, I work as a software engineer. I’m fortunate enough to work with a group of people who are very down to earth and wonderful people, but I’ve seen some of the darker sides of what people can become in this line of work: arrogant, dismissive, and forgetful of the fact that working with the people around them matters more than the programs they design. It can be a struggle to be a more gentle soul in this line of work when an unstated expectation of your job is that you should always assert yourself to the front of every discussion.

God wants us to be the best “us” we can be. God does not expect us to fit into one particular mold, no matter what our particular gifts are. The psalm I quoted above encourages me that God especially loves those who take the time to be quiet and try to understand: understand life, understand our role in the world, understand love, understand ourselves. God also does not leave us alone in this struggle, but is a partner with us, hand quietly on our shoulder as we go through life.

posted by Peter at 5:32 pm  

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