I have been lost in a fog of nostalgia all day. Twenty years ago on this date I stood before a congregation and offered my I dos and I wills to each of the nine ordination vows. I am at a loss to comprehend that twenty years have gone by. Even more, I am at a loss to understand the mystery of God’s grace.
What I am clear about is this: after twenty years of service as a minister of word and sacrament I believe as deeply as ever that we only ever really know the grace of God through the ones with whom we share the journey. I believe this not because it is a sound theological concept. I believe in the power of God’s grace because I have been blessed to receive it. So tonight, from the midst of my fog, I offer my deepest gratitude for the amazing grace that has transformed my life and sustained my ministry; and especially for those through whom I have received it…
For parents who, from my very first report card, taught me that the marks in the “effort” column matter much more than the ones in the “achievement” column.
For the teachers, mentors, and sages who have challenged me to dream – even at the risk of failing – and then loved me enough to pick me up, put me back together, and led me to learn and grow; to be wiser and stronger.
For the first community of faith I was called to serve: the Immanuel Saints – who taught me the difference between seminary lessons and ministry that matters in their homes and in their streets.
For every hungry, homeless, mentally ill, imprisoned, abused, and addicted person who has invited me into their lives and their struggles – through whom I have witnessed courage beyond description, and faith beyond measure.
For the second community of faith I have been called to serve: the Hanover Saints – who teach me every day what it means to see the face of Christ in every child of God, and then to reach out to each one with the hands of Jesus.
For two little boys, fast becoming young men, who daily remind me that I am but a link in the chain.
And for a life partner whose love models the unconditional love of God, who deeply honors the vows we made with one another, and whose life and ministry serve to inspire me in mine.
I offer these expressions of gratitude as a witness to God’s grace in my life with the hope and prayer that they would lead to a renewed sense of God’s grace in yours. May God bless us to accept the foggy mystery of God’s grace, even as we rejoice in receiving it.