by The Rev. Mark Buetow
So long to Sola! The Conferences are over. School looms on the horizon. You're back at home and you miss all the friends you saw and met at the Higher Things Conference this summer. Let's face it: you've probably suffering from the Post-Conference Blues, that sad syndrome that means the Conference is over and you miss all the fun and learning that was going on. But while you had a chance to have the Gospel poured upon you in many ways at the Conference, that same Gospel isn't just at the Conference! The Lord gives it out to you right where you are in your home church too! So here's our prescription for those Post-Conference Blues.
Step One: Be at the Divine Service! Go to church and sing like there are 900 other kids around you! Listen as your pastor reminds your of your Baptism and absolves you of all your sins. Pay close attention as the Word of God is read, declaring to you the Lord's loving work in and through Jesus Christ. Open your ears and hear Christ crucified preached in the sermon. Kneel at the altar of the Lord and receive the Bread of Life as He comes to you with His body and blood for the forgiveness of sins, life and salvation. The Divine Service is where Christ comes to you. The same Jesus that was so wonderful to see and hear in the Conference worship is right there in the worship you have every Sunday! He's not only at a Higher Things Conference: He's right there at home, too!
Step Two: Be in Bible Study! You learned so much from those wild and crazy pastors who taught on so many different topics. Your pastor at home has the same job: opening your eyes and ears to the wonders of God's holy Word, showing Christ in the pages of the Holy Bible, discussing and answering your tough questions, and helping you apply the forgiveness of sins to your daily life with others. Bible Study is the place to ask questions, dig deep and be refreshed from the “pure stream of Israel,” as you see the riches of God's Word come alive in pointing to Christ and delivering Him to you through your hearing of God's Word.
Step Three: Grab some Youth Group Friends and have some fun! Call them up. Go bowling. Go see a movie. Play some board or card games. Or just hang out over some burgers and sodas! You are a child of God. Your sins are forgiven. In the freedom that comes from being in Christ, go out and just have some plain old fun. Who knows? You might end up in a game of “Red Rover” or even sing some karaoke somewhere. The point is, enjoy the life and gifts with which your heavenly Father has blessed you.
Sure, the organ might not sound the same. Your pastor may or may not be as wacky as some that taught you at the Conference. And there aren't 900 kids to hang out with all at once. But whether your church has 100 members or a thousand, whether your youth group is 4 or 40, rejoice in the wonderful opportunities the Lord gives you right in your own home congregation. One Conference attendee said, “I'm going to church but it won't sound the same.” To which one pastor replied, “But same Jesus!” Same Jesus indeed! After all, Christ and what He has done for us was the great celebration of Sola 2009. And Christ and what He has done for us is the great celebration every week right there in the congregation where you belong! Christ alone! Grace alone! Faith alone! Scripture alone! But never home alone! For that same Jesus is always with you wherever you are, with all of His Word and gifts! And all that while you can also get ready for “Given!” next year! See you then!
Created: July 28th, 2009