Rev. Thomas Brown
What does the baby Jesus made out of corn, marriage, dozens of Lutherans from hundreds of miles apart, thousands of motorcycles, and confessional preaching and teaching combined with liturgical services all have in common? What else but a Higher Things Retreat in the Corn Palace City of Mitchell, SD during the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally week.
The 2nd Annual South Dakota District Higher Things Confirmation Retreat was held Friday and Saturday, August 9-10, 2013 in Mitchell. The retreat theme was “Sex is for Marriage, Jesus is for Sinners.” Retreat speaker Rev. Mark Buetow (Bethany, DuQuoin, IL) gave fantastic catechesis on what God gives in His gift of marriage, how marriage is a confession of the relationship between Christ and the Church, how we blow it, and how the mercy and forgiveness of Jesus is given for sexual sins, too.
In one breakout session, we heard from Rev. Brian Bucklew of Delmont and Tripp, SD as he taught about his experiences growing up under the law of Pentecostalism and his excitement over encountering the Gospel in Lutheranism. In another session, attendees had a chance to throw any question they could think of at Pastor Buetow. The gloves came off as they pummeled Pastor Buetow with hard-hitting questions such as “did Jesus have to be born of a virgin?” and “what is your favorite horror movie?” At the same time, adult leaders met up over coffee to share frustrations, fears and ideas with each other.
It is an unspeakable privilege to hear these young Lutherans singing the Word of God using our rich Lutheran heritage in hymns and liturgy. “Awesome! I loved every minute of it.” said Marjean Reichert, member at Zion, Mitchell and cook for the retreat meals and snacks.
One tenant of our Faith is that, as we confess in the third article of the creed, “I believe that I cannot believe in Jesus Christ...or come to Him. But the Holy Spirit calls me by the Gospel...” Our Lord promises us in Romans 10:17 and elsewhere that the Holy Spirit works to create Faith through the Word of God. The work of the Holy Spirit was evident following the retreat when one pastor reported that one unbaptized student who attended the retreat announced his desire to receive Baptism as soon as possible. At the time of this writing, that baptism has been scheduled. Awesome, indeed.
Join us next August for the 3rd annual Higher Things Confirmation Retreat in Blackhawk, SD.