Greetings from the majestic Rocky Mountains! I am sending this message to you from one mile above sea level, from the beautiful city of Denver, Colorado. More than 1,200 fellow preachers and I are participating in a mountain top experience called the 30th Festival of Homiletics.
It is most fitting that this preaching conference is held in the mountains since Christian, Jewish, and many ancient religions regard these high places as symbols where you can experience a closeness to God. So, hopefully, the Mile High preachers will be filled with the Lord’s presence and bring Him with us as we descend the Rockies at the end of the week to continue sharing God’s Word with others.
We know the Bible gives us many examples where sacred encounters occur, such as hilly places named Mount Horeb, Mount Sinai, and Mount Zion. For example, after God cleansed the world with the great flood, Noah and his family settled their ark on a mountainside to begin things anew. Generations later, Father Abraham offered his son Isacc as a sacrifice in a mountain setting, only to receive a scapegoat as an alternative. We then learned about a prophetic mountain climber named Moses, who trekked back and forth on the sloping terrain between Godly chats with a burning bush and his service as the courier of the Ten Commandments. Moses makes another cameo appearance in the New Testament, along with Elijah, who temporarily parks his chariot to engage in Jesus’ mountaintop Transfiguration. Jesus then moves to another mountain, the Mount of Olives, to contemplate his true purpose. That purpose leads him to his death at another lofty place, the Hill of Golgotha.
This week’s gathering of preachers presents the attendees with the challenge to face the peaks and valleys of sharing God’s Word in an increasingly secular society. Especially in today’s post-traumatic pandemic world, church leaders and preachers seek mountaintop experiences for guidance. Today’s must-read navigational tool for the church’s future is a book that symbolically brings us back to our elevated space for inspiration. “Canoeing the Mountains” by Tod Bolsinger reminds us of the Lewis and Clark expedition through unchartered territories of the Rocky Mountains. We need to soar to new heights.
This Sunday, we invite you to come to a higher plateau to experience our Lord. The elevation isn’t quite steep, but your trip to Shepherd Hill in Plainview, the setting of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, will allow you to listen to God’s Word. Join us for our 8:00 AM, 10:15 AM, and 6:00 PM worship services.