Over the years I have written several "book" or "booklets" and many, many, many newsletter and bulletin articles. Because the book market seeks writings to meet specific needs at specific times, my material has never been accepted. I have a tendency to write what is on my mind and so I am left with self publishing. So, with the encouragement from my wife and others, I am beginning this blog in order to put my "ramblings" "out there"! I hope you enjoy!
Please note that while my intentions are to use good grammar, because of the way in which some of the material presented here is presented (orally) the grammar and syntax might not always be the best English. Also note that good theology is not always presented in the best English so there may be times when the proper grammar rules are purposely broken.
Tuesday, July 10, 2012
Thoughts on Higher Things 2012
The theme for the 2012 Higher Things conferences was Twelve. Twelve for the twelfth year of Higher Things Gatherings, Twelve for the twelve tribes of Israel, the twelve Apostles, that number twelve times twelve times one thousand, the total number of saints in heaven. The two plenary speakers focused our attention on numbers in the Bible and their meaning. This year our youth were privileged to one of four gatherings, the one at Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, North Carolina. I believe this was the smallest of the four gatherings with just under 500 participants.
One of the greatest features of the Higher Things gatherings is the fact that along with beginning and ending the conference with Divine Service and the Lord’s Supper, we are in worship as a large group three times a day beginning with Matins in the morning, Vespers after lunch and Evening prayer after dinner. Each group individually concludes the day with Compline before bed. It is amazing to see and hear all these young people participate and chant much of the liturgy and do so joyously.
Another little know fact about the Higher Things Gatherings is that every evening after Evening Prayer pastors are available for private confession and absolution. This year, I heard, one youth group decided to avail themselves of this awesome privilege simply to experience and better understand what great thing private confession and absolution truly is.
As a pastor, I was offered the opportunity and taught two sectionals on debunking the theory of evolution. Although I did not get a “head” count, I would estimate that between the two sectionals I was able to teach between sixty and eighty youth and adults. And along with teaching I was able to attend sectionals as well. I attended informative sectionals on angels, on stem cell research, and on Revelation chapters twelve and thirteen.
Finally, one of the highlights for me personally was that I was able to assist in the Evening Prayer on Thursday evening as the Lucifer, which is Latin and means the Light Bearer. In other words I served in carrying the candle for the service of light.
What a great joy and privilege that we as a congregation have been able to make attendance at these youth gatherings available for our young people. I pray that you will see the benefit of these gathering and continue to support (especially financially) our youth who would like to attend and our adults who would volunteer their time for these gatherings.