As is the tradition when Valentine’s Day rolls around, I thought I might take a moment to tell you that I love you.
Before we met, I had heard of you through friends. Not much more than what a fine church you were, way out here in Stillwater. Then the bishop called and asked if I might want to meet you, see if we liked each other.
So, I asked around a bit, spoke to a few folks who were familiar with you. Sure, things weren’t perfect, you had been through some rough times, but you had a good heart and did good things. So, I called the bishop back: “Sure, why not. What could one date hurt?”
We met on a cold, dreary, rainy day in August. Did you know that I bought a new outfit especially for our first date? I mean, I told myself I was just coming to meet you but maybe deep down inside I wanted to make a good first impression.
Imagine my delight and surprise when you called me for a second date! I was so nervous! Was this getting serious?
That second date was intense. We talked about everything! Got it all out there on the table. Honestly, I figured I would never hear from you again. I even called my husband on the phone after that second date and said: “I don’t think they will call.”
Thirteen days I waited – but who’s counting. You said it would be two weeks. Who knew two weeks could be so long! And then the call came. You wanted to make it serious! I could hardly believe it. Such joy! My husband was so happy, we celebrated you with champagne, chocolate, and flowers!
And now, here we are, over four years in. You have been everything you said you would be and more. You are a willing learner. You care about other people. You love God and are willing to work on that relationship every day. You are striving to be more open, more welcoming, more creative, more expansive. You love to learn, sing, laugh, gather for worship, and drink coffee together. You are curious about how to creatively meet the lived needs of the people in our community and in the world. You have stretched yourselves and deepened your understanding of what it means to be the body of Christ. You have been very, very brave. You have admitted what you don’t understand and what you need to learn. You are willing to let people that don’t look or think like you be your teachers. You are astoundingly generous. You withstood subzero wind chills to sing Silent Night with battery-powered candles. You have learned to Zoom, record on your phones and worship from home.
I could go on and on. You have been all I dreamed of and more. God gave me a great gift when God brought you into my life. And I just thought you ought to know.
I love you, Trinity. Happy Valentine’s Day.