Tuesday, September 29, 2009

St. Michael Liturgical Conference

Yesterday, I had the privilege of attending the Twelfth Annual St. Michael Liturgical Conference at Zion Lutheran in Detroit.  I've attended this conference annually for the past several years and have always enjoyed it immensely.  This year was no exception, to be sure. 

The theme for the conference this year was "The Triduum Sacrum" (The Three Holy Days - Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday).  Rev. Dr. Kent Burreson (Assoc. Prof. and Dean of the Chapel at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis) was the Keynote Speaker and presented a very interesting paper titled, "The Triduum Sacrum and the Paschal Catechumenate."  Workshop presenters included Rev. Dr. Burnell Eckardt, Rev. Dr. Richard Zeile, Rev. Eric Forss, and Rev. Mark Braden (pastor at Zion and gracious host of the conference).  Much was shared about the various rubrics/rites involved in the Triduum Sacrum, and I left with a lot to chew on.  Good stuff, especially for a liturgical nerd, like me. :)

But, as wonderful as the various presentations were, the highlight for me were the Services in the Lord's House.  We began the conference with Holy Mass at 9:00 a.m., and it was simply heavenly.  Pr. Braden (our host) served as Celebrant (man, that dude has been blessed with some beautiful pipes - I wish I could chant the liturgy half as beautifully as him!), Pr. David Petersen served as preacher and delivered a most excellent Law/Gospel sermon, based on the Gospel lesson (raising of the widow's son at Nain), Prs. Eric Forss and Joel Basely served as Deacon and Subdeacon, respectively, and Bishop ( English District President) Rev. Dr. David Stechholz served as Officiant (always wonderful to be blessed by the Bishop!).  At Noon, we gathered again in the Lord's House for the Office of Sext, a beautiful, short prayer Service, and we concluded the business of the day with Solemn Vespers at 4:00 p.m.

I was so happy that three of our congregation's members were in attendance with me at this conference.  While I know that some parts of the presentations they heard were a little over their heads, I also know that they greatly appreciated the Services in the Lord's House, which were simply awesome (did I already mention that?:).   

I also have to say that the folks at Zion did a superb job of hosting the conference.  They were very hospitable to us, and both the luncheon and the Gemutlichkeit (fancy word for "reception") were most excellent.

Lastly, it was great fun to catch up with many brothers I don't get to see that often.  Lots of pastors for whom I have a great deal of respect and admiration were at this conference, and it was a blessing to be in their midst.  A great day, indeed!   


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