By Bethany Woelmer
As college students, we swim in a sea of worldly lies and deceptions, whose roaring waves bring fear and doubt upon our consciences and whose subtle currents attempt to carry us farther from the truth. We swim in a culture that redefines marriage, misinterprets God’s Word and promotes intolerance against the fundamental reality of family and its blessing to society and the Church. Yet there is a wave of truth, that is, God’s Word, that transcends the wisdom of man, and it brought hundreds of college students to the Taboo conference in St. Louis, Jan. 5-7, to answer questions that many of us encounter today.
I was among this sea of students experiencing two-and-a-half days filled with the joy of family and fellowship centered around the Gospel. Throughout my life, I have always considered family very important, and this conference confirmed my love for family. There were many friends attending who were from my Concordia “family,” Higher Things “family,” church “families,” music “family” or even my extended family — of which 10 cousins were present.
Yet beyond these earthly connections, there was the beautiful creation of God’s family, known as the Church, that gathered around the Word and Sacrament to receive the God’s eternal gifts of forgiveness and life.
Dr. Christian Kopff explained that the fundamental reality of society is not centered upon the individual but rather upon family. Included in family are God’s gifts of marriage, sexuality and children by which this “human cultural universal” of marriage is preserved. We live in a world in which individuals are secure in their own truth, happiness and pleasures of an idle life, as Pastor Jonathan Fisk eloquently expressed. Yet within family, there is the blessing of children, a true heritage from the Lord that preserves the very idea of what it means to be a human being created by God. This beauty of marriage reflects the beauty of creation in which God sustains life, both physically and spiritually.
The worship that brought God’s family together this past week was an eternal blessing. We learned about Christ’s “birth forever blessed” into a fallen world stricken with the sin inherited from Adam. We sang about the Church’s “one foundation” and the Bridegroom who bought the Church, His Bride, from the slavery of sin with His own blood on the cross, and we participated in the wedding feast of the Word made flesh in the Lord’s Supper. Finally, we ended in song with a blessing from God to His children that, having heard His “dear Son’s story … touched Him, saw His glory,” we are given peace and joy within the freedom of this Gospel.
I also especially appreciated the message of Epiphany that centers around the gift of Christ as our “heavenly Bridegroom, light Divine,” who shines in our hearts and continues to live within us in our various vocations in life. It brings me joy to know that I can share this light of Christ in this darkened world and even within my eternal family to which I belong. Although the world rages against us, we have strength in the Gospel and comfort in Christ’s promises of life and salvation given to His bride, the Church.
For a full story about the TABOO conference, click here.
Bethany Woelmer is a senior at Concordia University Wisconsin, studying Parish Music and theology. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted Jan. 12, 2015 / Updated Jan. 13, 2015