Tag Archives: Jonathan Keller

Jonathan Grows Up

I certainly am a proud papa as I prepare to celebrate my son’s wedding on Friday.  Carolyn and I thought we had the perfect name for our first-born, Jonathan, since he was “a gift of God” and his name, Jonathan, would distinguish him from his father, John.   And for years he was always Jonathan.   At church he learned to roam the hallways at a young age and delighted in being in the church nursery.

Jonathan with leg cast

However, one Sunday morning, a nursery attendant pulled me out of worship because my two-year-old son would not stand up on his left leg.  He had been jumping over things and somehow broke his leg.  I took him to the hospital where he received a leg cast.  At first he would not leave my lap.  But within a week he re-learned to walk and then run.  The next Sunday he was back at church, scooting through the narthex traffic in search of a cookie.   He has always been on the move, seeking new adventures, challenges and relationships.  Later at confirmation camp, he broke his collar bone, playing football.  Within a few hours, he figured out he could still throw the football and he became the designated quarterback with a no-tackle rule.  As he grew, his friends started calling him Jon instead of Jonathan.  It was quicker; you had to be fast to get his attention.

Jon runs for Minnehaha Academy

I also rejoice that he has chosen to run and live with passion.   He always been a competitor, working hard to achieve his goals, whether it was being the best cross-country runner or academic scholar.  That passion has led him to start his own company with some friends: MNY group.  His passion pushed him to seek the best spouse: Maggie Thomas.  She already brings incredible joy and laughter to Jon and our family.  I am praying that they find a good pace together.

And most importantly Jon continues to run with Jesus Christ as his Lord.  Though many will be calling him Jon this week-end and I will be confused, he will continue to my Jonathan, “a gift of God.”

Labor Day Ministry

As we enter the Labor Day week-end, I am mindful of the various ways we labor. Our careers or vocations can dominate our lives, though we rarely take time to reflect on their significance. Yesterday I explored my daughter’s vocation; today I will reflect on my son’s. (Part of my vocation as a papa!)

I have written on Luther’s concept of vocation in the past (Light work and Deep Gladness). Luther’s emphasis was that our daily work was where we love our neighbor, where we make the world a more trustworthy place for all, Christians and non-Christians alike.

The prince should think: Christ has served me and made everything to follow him; therefore, I should also serve my neighbor, protect him and everything that belongs to him. That is why God has given me this office, and I have it that I might serve him.. . . When a prince sees his neighbor oppressed, he should think: That concerns me! I must protect and shield my neighbor….The same is true for shoemaker, tailor, scribe, or reader. If he is a Christian tailor, he will say: I make these clothes because God has bidden me do so, so that I can earn a living, so that I can help and serve my neighbor. When a Christian does not serve the other, God is not present; that is not Christian living. “Sermon in the Castle Church at Weimar” (25 October 1522)

Recently I met my son, Jonathan, for lunch. He and friends are starting their own business which will be serving our neighbors by providing safe, non-skid floors for pools and bathrooms. The product is called Life Floor.

Often people think that the Christian ministry needs to be done in or through a church and that it must be tagged with the name of Jesus. That is too narrow. Ministry or service happens in our homes, schools, offices and community centers when we serve others.  Our love of God is reflected in our love for our neighbor.

My son’s work is a form of ministry, of serving and loving our neighbor. He will soon install Life Floor in my mother’s apartment bathroom. This will be a true benefit for her since she recently fell while showering and made a trip to the emergency room. Life Floor will be a benefit to my mom. Seeing and addressing the needs of others in our complex world is Christian ministry.

How is your vocation serving your neighbor?

Lord Jesus, may my daily life become a path to love and serve my neighbor: at home, at school or work, or in my community.

Living Out Your Story

Jon and Maggie's Story

Last Saturday, my son Jonathan wrote a story that had some odd twists.  He visited some friends in Chicago with his girl friend Maggie.  The main event was to see a Cub’s game at Wrigley Field.  On the way to the game, a friend mentioned that he had made reservation for the Signature Room on the 95th floor of the John Hancock center.  Jon expressed surprise, while Maggie expressed joy.  She had visited it once before and knew what a special place it was.

Little did Maggie know that Jon was the one who actually made the reservations.  Jon’s plan was to ask her to marry him that evening.  He also arranged to have several of Maggie’s friends join them for the dinner immediately after the proposal.  But he wanted this all to be a surprise.  Even though the two had been discussing marriage for a couple of months, he had not formally asked. He had the ring and approval from Maggie’s parents.  Now he needed to ask prior to the guests’ arrival.

However, as Maggie and Jon approached the elevators for the restaurant, a new wrinkle in the story appeared. They were running a bit late and the line for the elevator was quite long.   Jon was sure one or two of the Maggie’s friend would show up while they waited in line, ruining the surprise.  All his carefully designed plans would be wrecked.

Then a simple act of grace appeared.  A hostess asked if anyone had reservations for dinner.   Since most of those waiting in the line were only going to the observatory, Maggie and Jon were escorted to the front of the line and whisked to the 95 floor.   There he found a quiet spot overlooking the city lights and proposed.  Maggie, surprised and pleased, said YES.  All the special guests arrived and the meal of celebration could begin.

I wonder if the elevator hostess knew what a special gift she was giving that evening.  In a small way it reminds me of the young boy who offers his bread and fish to Jesus; that offering became the feeding of the 5000 (John 6).  We each have parts (big and small) in stories that are being written.  

Jon and Maggie are planning an October wedding.  Their story of celebration continues to be written.