Johanna Johnson ’09 M.Div.
B.A. Gustavus Adolphus College 2005
As the daughter, niece, granddaughter, and great-granddaughter of Lutheran pastors and servants of the church, I never had any desire to go into the ministry. God, of course, had something else in mind! In college, I found myself falling in love with theology and the study of religion, while I also began to roll around the possibility of attending seminary. By graduation, I wanted nothing more than to serve my neighbor in the world, and off I went to Slovakia as a missionary for a year. While there, God’s beckonings grew louder, and before I knew what had happened, I had applied and been accepted at Yale Divinity School, my dad’s alma mater.
From the moment I walked into Marquand Chapel during orientation, I had fallen in love. From that day on, I never missed a day of chapel, as long as I was healthy and in town. What happened in Marquand fed me and stretched me in ways I couldn’t have anticipated – a rich and vibrant worshiping community, as well as a space for me to deeply reflect on my own faith compared to the many and various expressions of faith that surrounded me each day in this space, in the classroom, in the refectory, and everywhere I looked. I have been so grateful for this gift of YDS to my faith life: the opportunity to deeply examine my own expressions of this faith outside of my familiar Lutheran context, and to reap the insights of my many impressive classmates, who serve as a daily inspiration to me in my own journey. In class I have been pushed to places of amazement, discomfort, rejoicing, and always growth, as I have discovered the many revelations of God in the world.
As I continue down the path toward ordained ministry in the ELCA (next stop is a year-long, full-time internship in Naples, Florida!), I carry with me many skills cultivated at YDS: a strong liturgical sensibility; exposure to many different ways of praying, singing, speaking, and thinking; the ability to step into someone else’s shoes and see something from a different and inevitably fruitful perspective; an awareness of how my gifts can be used to complement and even enhance the many other gifts God has instilled in my fellow members of the Body of Christ; and perhaps most importantly, a deep thirst to seek the Kingdom of God, and to see glimpses of it wherever I can.