3 I thank my God every time I remember you, 4 constantly praying with joy in every one of my prayers for all of you, 5 because of your sharing in the gospel from the first day until now. 6 I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work among you will bring it to completion by the day of Jesus Christ. 7 It is right for me to think this way about all of you, because you hold me in your heart, for all of you share in God’s grace… 8 For God is my witness, how I long for all of you with the compassion of Christ Jesus. 9 And this is my prayer, that your love may overflow more and more with knowledge and full insight 10 to help you to determine what is best, so that in the day of Christ you may be pure and blameless, 11 having produced the harvest of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ for the glory and praise of God.
I have a tendency to pick up on phrases that people use. A few times, particularly in youth ministry, that has gotten me into some trouble. I would use a phrase thinking that it meant one thing when, in fact, it meant something entirely different and entirely inappropriate. Here is one of my favorites, for now: “Well…that just happened.” It is four words meant to cover hundreds of words that could be spoken over an event that just took place that can’t quite be put into words at that moment. Well…that just happened.
I look back over the past ten years as a pastor at University and I realize it would take hundreds of thousands of words (if not millions) to describe the many meaningful and beautiful events and happenings that have taken place. To try to describe the depth of so many relationships that shared in the most glorious times and in the most devastating moments that life brings about would be next to impossible. If not impossible, tremendously time-consuming.
So, in this, my last blog at University, I am finding it intensely difficult to put it all into words. Never, in my wildest imagination, would I have believed that this opportunity would be given to me and that I would be in a role so beautiful and complex, so life-giving and so heartbreaking. I think back on births and baptisms, weddings and anniversaries, lunches and dinners, and face-to-face conversations and phone calls (and stupid COVID Zoom mtgs.). I think back on hospital visits and celebrations of life and I will forever remember the words and tears we shared. It is with the greatest of joy, I think back on building teams for ministry and sharing in that with so many of you. Worshiping with this Body of Christ for ten years, in Modern and in Traditional, has been 100% life-changing for me. I can’t even tell you the many times I would go home on Sunday afternoons fully realizing this blessing in my life and praying it was in yours!
These thoughts leave me without the words to adequately express what it all means to me. I can say this, my heart is so filled with love, and my spirit overcome with gratitude and appreciation. Well…that just happened, and I will, for the rest of my life, be in over my head with thankfulness to Christ my Savior.
A lot of love and then some,