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“Rock Solid,” A message from Pastor Sonja Hagander

Cairn stones in NorwayOne of my favorite orientation activities is to gather with new StepUP students and their families. Each year I am invited to offer a ritual of beginning with this crowd. Here’s a window into some of that time together from this week:

“Mountains are often seen as sacred. Mount Etna in Italy is vital for the Vulcans. Mount Sinai for Jews and Christians. Your own mountaintop experiences can often lead you to experience the holy and bind you to your higher power. This summer I traveled to mountainous Norway and was in an area called Trollstiegen. The day I was there it was windy, clouds hung low and I couldn’t see very far in front of myself. I was stuck. And then, slowly, I began to see people and a way forward. Looking again, the figures were not people, but cairns. Cairns are stacks of pebbles, stones or even small boulders that guide the way. They are built by fellow hikers. There I was, surrounded by literally thousands of cairns, all shapes and sizes. They looked like people! You have in your hand some stones. I invite each new student to share with your family one “rock,” one sign, one event….that led you to Augsburg. And then, in turn, families, I invite you to build your own cairn in front of your student and “bless” them by reminding them of the “cairns” that will be there for them as they make their way at Augsburg.”