Jonathan Kohlmeier

As I’m sitting on the plane headed home from Tacoma, I’m not sure what to write. I’ve covered that each year the Higher Things Conferences pick right back up where they left off and that we continue on in the same worship and theology in our home congregations. I’ve talked about how completely insane HT conferences seem to the world, yet the youth are there singing at the top of their lungs, asking pastors tough questions, growing in the faith that has been given to them.

So now what? What do I write about as I’m headed home from the final From Above conference? The conference theme and the HT family of course!

Anothen. From Above. Jesus tells Nicodemus that unless one is born From Above he cannot see the kingdom of heaven. You have been born from above (me too!), in your baptism. By name, your pastor baptized you, “In the Name, of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” Someone probably spoke your “amen” for you. Amen is that “yes it is so,” that “gift received.” And what a gift your baptism is! It’s there when you have nothing else going for you. When you are going through Higher Things withdrawal.

In your baptism, you have everything going for you! You have Christ’s death and resurrection delivered to you! You receive the drowning of your own Old Adam and your New Man being raised to life!

You are baptized into Christ so you can gladly say you are God’s own child. That means your family is the rest of those who have been baptized. The whole church is your family!

We get to have a small family reunion at HT conferences. The staff really does consider it our HT family. We get together each year to rejoice in the gifts that God has given us. We tell the fun stories that have happened since the last time we saw each other. We gather around meals in the cafeteria and enjoy each others company. More importantly we gather around the Lord’s Supper to commune with our HT family.

Last weekend we said “good-bye” and headed home. It could be a year or more before we see some of our family again. But in the communion of Christ’s body we will join each other at our family reunions week in and week out. There won’t be hundreds of kids singing the Divine Service and joining in praying Matins, Vespers, Evening Prayer and Compline every day. But we will gather in our churches around the altar to join with the whole company of heaven to receive the Lord’s gifts. We will join in the heavenly feast for the forgiveness of sins and eternal life.

You have been born from above! You have been adopted into Christ’s family. We pray for and with each other in the Lord’s Prayer. We are joined with each other in the Divine Service. And we remember and rejoice in our family Name placed on us as we were born from above!

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