Just over three years ago I reluctantly showed up to an interview for a job that meant leaving the church home I had just made. The job wasn’t enough hours to support me through seminary, and I couldn’t even meet my supervisor, because they were still in the process of calling someone for that position.
But I met the kids, and they stole my heart. They asked what kind of music I listened to, and when I bashfully disclosed that it was usually Christian music, they didn’t give up on me. They used a lot of teenage lingo I didn’t know, and giggled when I told them that I had no idea what they just said. They were curious and welcoming, excited and willing to show up.
So I took the job.
I expected to be able to build relationships with the youth here at Prince of Peace. And I did that. I hope that they were just as blessed by those as I was. What I didn’t expect was to be embraced by the entire community.
I didn’t expect to be invited to sing and play in worship and with the choir, but I was loved and encouraged in ways that I never had been.
I didn’t expect to have my ideas and voice valued in staff meetings, but I was respected and embraced as an important voice.
I didn’t expect to be invited to dinners and coffee with members of the congregation.
I didn’t expect to have muffins delivered to my door on my birthday when we were in a pandemic.
I didn’t expect to be shown how the love of God is spread through a room full of $100 bills.
I didn’t expect to be comfortable being vulnerable to the people of Prince of Peace.
I didn’t expect to find family at Prince of Peace.
But I do expect that I will forever be changed by my time here.
I know generosity in new ways.
I know how to support others in new ways.
I know what can be done with a team who is looking to do the work of God.
I do expect that you as Prince of Peace, will continue to show that unconditional love to God’s people.
Blessings to you. Thank you for everything. And continue to choose God.