I started going to Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church in the spring of 2000. My wife suggested it, using a manner of persuasion that is familiar to anyone in a long-term relationship. I wasn’t against going. I was just skeptical. How would this place be any different than anywhere else?
Yes, we were church shopping, for reasons I’ll tell in another story. I was beginning to believe that we would not find a place that fit us. I’m not even sure I knew what that would be if we were to stumble into it, but I knew we would just know. We Would Just Know. And we did. That is how it happened. We came. We ate. We stayed.
In December of 2000 the pastor asked me, incredibly, if I would be willing to deliver The Message in a service. To Preach. The Sermon. This was a bit overwhelming to a boy who grew up Catholic and saw nothing but that particular authoritarian regime when it came to matters of church. I learned later that such a thing can only occur at a small church. She would be on vacation, of course, and needed some poor schlump to fill in. Ignorant as I was, I said Yes.
I found that I like doing it, only if done occasionally. I’ve done it now maybe 15-20 times over these 13 years. I’ve preached about personal stuff. I’ve preached community things. I preached right after 9/11, at a Thanksgiving service held in a nearby public school. That particular service was something, I will tell you.
I realized tonight that almost every time, I’ve ended the service with the same hymn. I have a certain connection to this song. Maybe it is because I’m an optimistic guy. There is always something to hope for, something deep in our hearts, something we want to believe.
I heard this song on one of my playlists tonight. I moves me every time I hear it.. As it turns out, on this particular day The Boss closed his show with this song too. I feel like I am in good company.