I’m leaving today for our District Convention. Some of my friends refer to this kind of gathering as Annual Conference, and others by who knows what name. Our advantage is that this only happens once every three years rather than annually.
This will be the eleventh time (I think) I will have been to a District Convention in my 30 years of ministry. Most of them have mostly been enjoyable, but not because we “accomplished a lot.” The enjoyable part comes with the fellowship, the renewed friendships, the laughter, the hugs and smiles. The enjoyable part comes with eating together and worshiping together, lifting our voices loudly in hymns and songs, and tearfully singing “God be with you till we meet again” as the closing hymn of all. It is because of all these things, I think, that some of us endure the reports, the resolutions, and all that other stuff.
Because the “business” of a Convention or Conference or whatever you want to call it is what we bring to it – we human beings, with our god-like penchant for trying to bring order to chaos, trying to understand the wondrous, and trying to make sense out of the mystical. Underneath or over or around all the “business” is the chaos and wonder and mysticism of the Holy Spirit who always “calls, gathers, enlightens and sanctifies the whole Christian Church on earth” (as Luther said) – even in Conventions and Conferences and other business-like Inconveniences.
So as I go off to our Convention – and as you go off to yours, whatever it’s called – be on the lookout for the work of the Holy Spirit. He won’t be on the list of delegates or alternates or guests or vendors, but He will be the one you definitely want to see while you’re there.