Tuesday afternoon the Higher Things From Above Conference season will begin with the Opening Divine Service. Hundreds of Lutheran youth will join their voices in singing “Of The Father’s Love Begotten” with those whom they will get to know better throughout this week, but also with the whole company of heaven.
For the conference staff and those who have attended a conference before, it will seem like conferences never stopped. When that first chord of congregational singing hits, all the worship confessing Jesus Christ for you will come back. Those Lutheran youth will light up when they hear new, profound, thoughts that they have never heard put in such a way in plenary and breakout sessions. There will be joyful screams and laughter as people are reunited with old friends and as they make new ones. Free Time will be spent playing frisbee or board games or talking theology. It will be a great week for Lutheran youth. It will be a great week for Lutheranism!
But that same great Lutheran worship, work, and play never stopped, did it? That same worship continued on–week in and week out–in our home congregations. Our pastors continued to teach the same Good News of Jesus in classrooms and bible study. We enjoyed fun with our fellow Lutheran friends in person at youth group, through emails, text messages, and social media.
That same Lutheran worship, theology and fun will continue long after the Closing Divine Service on Friday. Youth, pastors, and chaperones will leave refreshed after their week of daring to be Lutheran. They will go back to their congregations to tell them about what they learned and did at From Above. They will look forward to coming back next year.
Tomorrow the Opening Divine Service will begin right where we left off. It will be like we never stopped and we didn’t! We have been receiving the Lord’s gift this whole time! We have been joined with the whole church as we sing hymns, hear the Word and receive the Supper. Joined with our friends we see once a year at Higher Things conferences and joined with the communion of saints. It’s like every Sunday receiving Jesus’ gifts, just a little bigger and louder!