Greetings from Milwaukee!  We just arrived here for the Convention a couple hours ago, and I’m already excited.  However, the travel getting here was not fun.  First we got up at 3:30 for an 8 AM flight, but that got delayed until 10, meaning that our 3-hour layover turned into less than 1.  To make up for that, our next flight was delayed 30 minutes… meaning that for both flights we sat in the terminal longer than we sat on the airplane!

It was all worth it in the end, however.  On our second flight at least half the passengers were going to the Convention (some even in the same hotel as us).  Just about everyone in our airport shuttle was also going to the Convention.  Since getting here I’ve run into a number of Seminary and college classmates that I haven’t seen in years (just imagine what it must be like for pastors who’ve been out in the field for longer, like my dad!).

Unfortunately, we arrived too late to attend the Delegate Orientation, but we were in time for the Delegate Dinner and Opening Worship Service.

The Convention Worship Service was incredible.  One of the best parts of attending synodical schools is hearing that enormous group belting out hymns together in worship… but even that pales in comparison with the over 3000 delegates, guests, visitors, and assistants singing together at the Convention worship!  The music (directed by Kantor Rosebrock, who just accepted a call in Milwaukee after serving several years at one of the churches we attended while in Seminary) was beautiful.  I heard President Harrison preach a handful of times while I was at the Seminary (and then at our District Convention last year), and I really appreciate his homiletical style.  Tonight’s sermon was extremely timely:  the culture demands that we “Revoco” (Recant) of our beliefs, but we must—with Luther and Peter—stand firm in our faith.  If and when it is available to watch online, I highly encourage you to do so.

The best part of worship, however, was of course Communion.  When we commune—regardless of the altar we are at—we are communion with the whole Church, both on earth and in heaven.  When I commune at Trinity, I am at the same time communing with my family in New Jersey, my classmates scattered around the country, and even believers I have never met who are communing at altars of churches with which we are in fellowship throughout the world (England, Germany, Ghana, Taiwan, Brazil, and so many more).  However, this becomes so much more tangible and real when you are communing in a room filled with delegates from around the country (one delegate in the row ahead of me was even from an English District church in Ontario, Canada).  It becomes even more visible when the ones distributing the Sacrament are representatives of all 35 LCMS districts as well as the bishops and presidents of some of our partner churches around the world.  Truly we are all members of one body together, even though we are scattered far and wide.

My prayer, having participated in the Body and Blood of Christ together, is that we will not tear that Body down during this Convention and will instead build one another up into that One Body, the Church, together.

Let us pray:  Gracious Lord, as You watched over Abraham and Sarah during their travels, we thank You for watching over all of those who traveled to this Convention over the past few days.  Grant that we who have communed together on the One Body of Christ would recognize and practice this unity in all our actions this week and build one another up as we “walk together.”  In Jesus’ Name.  Amen.