When I was on vacation last week, I got to spend some time with three of my friends and classmates from seminary. Such time got me thinking about perceptions and life stages, about how I have been viewed in the various stages of my life. In seminary, I was seven years older than the majority of my classmates. I was an old, wise man to them. I was the guy who had seen the world and could offer different perspectives on the Scriptures or a piece of doctrine.
Here at First Lutheran, nobody views me as the wise, old man. I’m perceived by most of you as young.
As a congregation, you get different glimpses into who I am than my classmates at seminary had. They saw me in the classroom, on the basketball court, in the cafeteria, and occasionally at a brewery. You see me at the altar, in meetings, and at hospital bedsides.
I haven’t become a different person, and yet you can perhaps see how the version of me that you have seen is vastly different from the one my seminary classmates have come to know. Likewise, I’m guessing that you are perceived differently by your closest friends than perhaps you are perceived by other congregation members.
Our God has called us into relationships. Trust gets built and earned in these relationships through quality time, and I’d love to spend more quality time with you all. If you’d like to get coffee or lunch sometime, let me know. If I invite you to coffee or lunch sometime, I hope you’ll say yes.
As I noted in a sermon a few weeks ago, the early church devoted itself to fellowship, to communion, to eating and drinking together, to deep relationships that strengthened the church. Let’s follow their example.
God’s blessings on your week.