I’m at Higher Things in St. Louis right now, and sadly did not get to be at the airport in Cedar Rapids to welcome Susan home from Europe. I did speak with her, however, and she is doing well. If you want to read about some of the things she and her group got to do during the last three weeks, check out my wife’s blog: The Common Sense Mom.
Speaking of Higher Things, what a fun and enjoyable week I have had. I got to do an in-dept sectional this year, which has gone really well. I also had the privilege of helping assist the conference chaplain, Rev. Dr. Rick Stuckwisch with the conduct of the daily services. Today we had the Communion service at the St. Louis Seminary Chapel, and I assisted as a sub-deacon. In addition to all that I have been able to spend some quality time with some old friends. I have thoroughly enjoyed myself. Higher Things is exactly the kind of thing our youth need. One thing I missed was hearing the trademark speech of Higher Things, which Rev. Klemet Preus had the custom of giving at the beginning of the conference. It basically goes like this: It has been said that Americans worship their work, work at their play, and play at their worship. Here at Higher Things when it is time to worship, we worship. When it is time to work (such as in break out sessions and catechesis), we work. And when it is time to play, we play, and we play hard. We don’t try to mix them. We keep them separate.
I have used this speech countless times when trying to explain to people what makes Higher Things Conferences so great. Prayer is prayer. Study is study. Play is play. This is as it should be. The kids get exposed to several different orders of worship, all from the hymnal, throughout the week. Every day we pray Matins, Vespers, Evening Prayer, and a brief order of Prayer at the Close of the Day is provided to be used optionally by groups. Pastors lead the services, preach, and lead most of the catechesis sessions. There is no funny business like liturgical dancing going on around the altar during worship. And guess what–the kids LOVE it. It is so great to hear 800 kids sing hymns like “We All Believe in One True God” and “A Mighty Fortress.” Give kids substance and they will run with it.
I’m looking forward, of course, to getting back home and celebrating the 4th of July with my family and some folks from church. Happy Independence Day!