by The Rev. Rich Heinz
Technical difficulties with posting “Day 1” kept me up, fighting with my laptop computer until 2:30 a.m. CDT. Since my body is still on Eastern Daylight Time, I had been up for 24 hours. Do I still think this is worth it? Oh, yes! Absolutely!
Every morning this week, check myHT (or the main site at http://higherthings.org) for an update of the previous day’s “blog” about For You.
We began our day following breakfast with Matins. It is amazing; even after everyone had a late night, the vast majority are all gathering for services. The chapel is practically filled to capacity, including the multiple balconies. Have you ever experienced well over 1,000 people singing their hearts out for the Te Deum? A splendid gift!
Pastor Kind has an amazing voice for chanting. Kantor Resch’s upper body moves with such expression that you can “feel” the hymn as he skillfully plays the Lord’s music. And Pastor Brent Kuhlman preached an outstanding sermon on Jesus’ Baptism FOR YOU! (Watch for this to soon appear as a “Higher Homily.”)
Today was my first day of working as a catechist. What a joy! I taught two sessions of the Breakaway sectional on The Gospel in Star Wars. While George Lucas has used a syncretistic blend of many religions, we explored a number of ways to use Star Wars as a parable to remember Gospel.
The second session for Hitchiker’s Guide to the Sanctuary delved into New Testament references, and beautiful slides of church art from the first three centuries after Jesus’ ascension. The use of art to teach and correspond with Scripture, along with the intricacies of that art, is amazing! (Have you noticed I seem to be adding another pastor to my personal “pantheon” of heroes?)
I also attended Pastor Marcus Zill’s breakaway sectional on campus ministry. Practical ideas were shared as he taught on reaching students with the Gospel at this critical time in their lives.
Pastor Bill Cwirla began his time today as a plenary catechist. His balance of humorous moments with serious and meaty substance is a talent. He joked that someone told him on his 50th birthday that he finally reached middle age. We think the whole Church hopes that at 50, he truly has just hit “middle age,” and can teach youth for years to come.
This evening, we had “Coffman Memorial Union Night,” with dinner at the union food court, a chance to see “The Nativity Story,” and the opportunity to use the game room, Open Mic Karaoke, board games, or attend an astronomy club presentation. There was truly something for everyone.
Meeting people continues to be a highlight. I correspond via email with Sandra Ostapowich and Stan Lemon between five and ten times a week, yet this was my first chance to meet these friends and co-workers. Pastor Matt Ruesch, who has written Harry Potter articles for myHT, introduced himself, as well. I was a little nervous, discovering that Rachael Soyk (who wrote the myHT article on “Star Wars at 30”) attended my breakaway session.
Vespers was prayed this afternoon, with Pastor Jon Sollberger preaching. The sermons here have all been tremendous! Again, the house is packed, people are singing out, and the Gospel is gladly received. The night ended with Pastor Mark Buetow, editor of the Daily Reflections, preaching for Evening Prayer.
If you have only thought about attending a Higher Things conference, or haven’t begun to consider it, start now! I have yet to find someone here that isn’t learning. Nor have I heard anyone having a boring time. Worship, work, and play are in a blessed balance here. A balance that is completely FOR YOU!
You may wish to read Pastor Matt Ruesch's experience of For You on his blog, The Minnesota Lutheran. Check it out at: http://www.mnlutheran.com/2007/07/his-bloodfor-you.html
Rev. Rich Heinz is Senior Pastor of St. John’s Ev. Lutheran Church & School in Lanesville, IN. He is the editor of myHT, and a first time participant and breakout speaker for a Higher Things conference.
Created: July 25th, 2007