Two hours on the interstate and I was there: Bread of Life 2016 in Nashville. I had never been to a Higher Things conference before, but here I was, a College Conference Volunteer (CCV). I hit the ground running—my days were busy, from directing arriving families and church groups to their dorms, to running from Matins and Vespers to help pastors find their breakaway sessions, to laughing at the latest theological joke from one of the other CCVs. I walked far, slept little, and smiled often.
Working the conference was exciting, but it was also edifying. The half-dozen breakaways I went to didn’t pull any punches; crowds of youth eagerly listened to presentations that all taught the depth of our sin and the sweet forgiveness won for us by Christ. The plenary speakers pointed us to the very Bread of Life—Jesus—in, with, and under the Sacrament of the Altar, forgiving our sins and giving us eternal life. And during those four days we ate and drank that Sacrament TWICE and in between we sang hymns, listened to sermons, and remembered our baptisms.
My week at Higher Things consisted of sore ankles, drippy water bottles, and Christ crucified for me. I loved chat with pastors who had made videos and written articles I’d read when my family first became Lutheran, and I had so much fun befriending the fourteen other CCVs as we served together. Heading home Friday evening was bittersweet, but I looked forward to Sunday, when I’d once again go to the Bread of Life in Holy Communion. And that was the whole point of the conference: Whether you’re sitting in a pew next to your dad or in a folding chair next to your new best friend from Ohio, it’s all about Jesus feeding us His life-giving, sin-forgiving Body—the Bread of Life.
Molly Buffington is a member of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Cullman, Alabama, and is studying history at the University of Alabama.