Giving and Receiving the Gifts: A Pastor’s Day at AMEN

by The Rev. Rich Heinz

Today I had a high privilege and honor: preaching for Matins at a Higher Things conference! I have to admit: preaching for a Higher Things conference gives more pressure than a typical Sunday. There are great preachers of Christ’s Gospel here, and youth whom they have catechized well. A “Higher” standard is expected. Because of that, I scrapped my first homily about one-third of the way through writing it. And boy! Am I glad I did.

As I was preparing this morning, my good friend and former parishioner, Pastor Jacob Sutton, peeked at the first line of my homily. He cracked a smile as his eyes fell on the opening: “Anakin Skywalker had a problem.”

I have to say, I was a little nervous about the illustration and its length in the sermon. But it was well received. The Lord can even use Star Wars to teach the gift and blessing of suffering, serving His Word!

As thrilling as it was, I have to say the Gift of the Holy Eucharist was the highlight today. The Divine Service – THE greatest experience of receiving Christ’s Gifts – the greatest moment to say, “Amen!” This evening was the pinnacle of AMEN 2008, as the hundreds of youth and chaperones boarded buses and traveled several miles to Concordia Seminary’s Chapel of St. Timothy & St. Titus. There we filled the nave, transepts, and choir loft. There the Lord generously poured out His Gifts. There we gladly sang and spoke our “Amens.”

The catechesis is always top notch at HT. The fun with friends is great too. But the worship is absolutely amazing! “Sing Alleluia! Cry aloud, ‘Alleluia! Amen.’”

 

Created: July 4th, 2008