Today, I turned thirty years old. It’s awesome—I can now write off every stupid decision I made in the last decade with, “Eh, I was in my twenties.” Thank you for the cards and for donating protein-rich foods for North Dallas Shared Ministries, and for the cookies and cakes and well-wishes. Thanks also for saying nice things about me to my mom.
Birthdays, anniversaries and big life events are weird in my family. We have a standing rule that as long as a card is mailed within a month of the event, it still counts as being on time. Usually, we buy cards for completely different events and modify them with pens and magic markers—I gave my sister an edited Sympathy for a Pet’s Death card when she graduated law school. We give little gifts with big meaning (my mom gave me a Jefferson Bible, for example, which is really quite neat). And we tend not to notice major anniversaries—my mom and step-dad have been married for… twenty? years?
But I notice anniversaries. Monday was the start of my third year of having the honor to serve as your pastor. We have done a lot of great work in the Reign of God together—Bible studies, fellowship meals, outreach collections, mission work, justice and advocacy actions, intentional hospitality, radical stewardship, the , brilliant anthems, marvelous liturgical art, music and paraments, open dialogues, new avenues, syncopated vespers, the rekindling old relationships… We have been witness to the New Thing that God is doing in our midst, when we seek to understand it. I look forward to so much more time with all of you and all the folks we have yet to encounter as we seek to be Christ’s hands, feet and heart in this world, and it is certainly my pleasure to serve. My most common prayer for this church is “Thanks,” followed closely by “And what else?” That is the best thirtieth birthday present one could ask for.
This Sunday, we’ll be hearing one of those scriptures that doesn’t get preached very often, for probably very good reasons. You won’t want to miss it—you may even want to have a stake in it. I look forward to seeing you Sunday.