My first Sunday as pastor of our church was Father’s Day 2004, which means that I’ve been part of our church for ten years. All of us tend to get reflective on days like this and it’s a gift to be able to share moments with people who matter. And speaking of gifts
After ten years, I’m so grateful to God for the gift of clarity. There are moments when I feel pretty dumb for leading us on a roundabout as we figure out who we are and the role we play in God’s kingdom. I really am sorry for all of the moments where I thought the best way that I could help you was to figure things out on my own rather than doing this with you, and more importantly, in reliance upon God and his power. Ten years in, I’m deeply encouraged and excited to be part of a church that is all in when it comes to helping people follow Jesus together as a family, and whose future will increasingly depend on the wisdom and power of God. We are still learning how to be this kind of people and how to do this together; we will fail but God will be faithful! I’m so glad to be part of this with you.
And speaking of you and me and us, I’m so grateful to God for the gift of community. We all confuse and disappoint and hurt each other - and I’ve done more than my fair share of confusing, disappointing and hurting - but don’t you get a sense that we’re in this together through thick and thin? We find ourselves in a unique situation where people live in Athens for a season rather than a lifetime but whether you are part of our present or our past, you will always be part of our family. The apostle Paul tells the church in Thessalonica that ‘you are our glory and joy’ (1 Thessalonians 2:20) and that is exactly how I feel about you.
For those of you who will wake up in Athens tomorrow, I look forward to seeing you and enjoying God together as we gather for worship. And to the rest of you - out of town for the weekend or living with Athens in your rearview mirror - thank you for the memories. I am more excited and hopeful than ever before.
Love, Grace, Peace.