Happy 10th Anniversary! On your 10th Anniversary, I’d like to share all the times with you that I’m thankful for.
I’m thankful for these times:
When we worshipped with other congregations. It was a taste of what heaven is like. People from every tribe and nation, coming together to worship the One True King.
The times we recognized Jesus as the True Head of the Church. He is the Head of Bridgeway, and all churches in the US, and all churches throughout all time and space. You are His beautiful Bride, Bridgeway, the Church.
The times when you allowed other “amateurs” to preach. It was wonderful to hear other voices, and other facets of God through them. You made our understanding of God a little richer.
The times loving the children, from wee toddlers to boisterous elementary school kids, to struggling teenagers and beyond. Those in children’s and youth ministry do so much. You sacrificed so much time for these kids, big and small. My son comes home every Sunday, energized, and “alive,” for lack of a better word. I’m so thankful for the interaction and love he gets from his peers and teachers.
The countless times you ministered to college and grad students, and families (who are students too — students of “life getting real”!)
The times when you gave me the space I needed. You knew when to reach out, and when to give me space. I was tired, burnt out, and barely hanging on. You didn’t pressure me to go to all the church events, and said it was ok. I was all frazzled, wild-eyed, guilty, and anxious, and you said, softly, “It’s OK.” And by that I knew it was ok I did not come; it was ok if I couldn’t make it to this or that event. You gently encouraged me to go, and invited me to come, but did not judge me when I didn’t. Thank you for that.
All the times when you were around, growing up with me as a Christian. We’ve been through some times, both good and bad. Thank you for the history, the memories, the present time, and the good times yet to be.
The times walking with me through the pain of church breakup. You’ve been through some hard journeys. We were all hurting, numb at first, trying to process, but you didn’t give up. You stuck around. And the pain made us wiser, and cling to God more. The pain made us humble, and compassionate. It made us less quick to judge, as we struggled with our humanity, brokenness, and tendency to fall. We knew, with poignant tenderness, our deep need for God. Every moment. Every day.
The times when you asked for my thoughts, opinions, and input. I felt as if you cared about what I thought, that I mattered to you, that I was not insignificant. You taught me also to listen to others’ thoughts and opinions, even if I disagree. Thank God for “university” — unity in diversity. It wasn’t the similar personality, interests, social class, ethnicity, or culture, that united us, but Christ. That is beautiful.
Everyone has a story, and you do too. As you reach ten years, Bridgeway, may your story so intertwine with Christ’s, as it has, for the next ten years and beyond.