From Death to a New Life

As classmates and friends, Rebecca Hinz and I have learned a lot together. We have sat in the classroom at Luther Seminary, sharing books and notes. We have also travelled to Greece, Turkey, and Germany through Luther’s international opportunities. Both Rebecca and I have felt our call to ministry come to us out of the death of a family member: Rebecca’s mother and sister passed away and my father passed away in recent years. We have also talked a great deal about Christian hope in the face of death and dying-- and how to support people during difficult times. 

Photos below: These are my iPhone photos from a memorable day with Rebecca at the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, Turkey (2013).

A new life has emerged for Rebecca, who is nearing graduation at Luther Seminary. She began her studies after retiring from a successful 30-year career as a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) air traffic controller. Over the years, the number of controllers has gone from 10% when she started to 25% now. Rebecca is accustomed to giving direct and clear instructions to commercial pilots who are 95% male. 

Grounded in Lutheran theology and informed by the confidence she has gained from her occupation and leadership experiences, Rebecca believes she’ll be comfortable as a pastor or chaplain. She has no doubt that her interest in being present with people especially at the end of life—is a calling from God.


Rebecca sensed God’s call strongly multiple times. “The last time was the summer after my mother died. I was out on a three-week road trip and there was a little voice. ‘You need to go and be a chaplain.’”   She answered, “Okay, I can do it this time.”  The following October, she ran across a Luther Seminary information piece. Within a year, she was enrolled at Luther. 

Out of death comes new life. This Holy Week, we remember Christ’s willingness to go to the cross and to die. Easter is the celebration his resurrection and we share in both his death and resurrection. 

God is creating new life every day in the world and in God’s people. Through Christ’ death, we are given new life, a fresh start every day, as God’s beloved children.