Just before 8:30 am, I walked from my new apartment into a new building, sat in the front row and began to learn Greek from a brilliant, hilarious, rabbit hating, lamination loving, table hopping New Testament scholar.
I also met some of my dearest friends and most faithful leaders of the church. Many of them scared me. Some said they had wanted to be a pastor since before they were teenagers. I thought some of them still were teenagers. I hadn't even thought of being a pastor until a little old lady suggested in just over a year earlier.
This group of people who gathered in Valentine 310 that morning (and several others along the way) have helped me in immeasurable ways. They have inspired, challenged, comforted, cajoled, kicked me in the ass, prayed for, hugged, motivated, questioned, tutored, accepted and just been there for me for each day since. They have done everything from inviting me to study sessions, teaching me how to order at Sheetz with touch screens, introduce me to Facebook, and Yuengling. That was just the first weekend.
I give thanks to God for them every day. I give thanks to God for the Gospel they proclaim, the lives they change, the churches they serve, and the good works they do, just because they’re good.
For the last ten years, and for all the years to follow, thank you.
To quote the Dead, “Lately, it has occurred to me, what a long, strange trip it’s been.”