“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us.” -Hebrews 12:1
It is hard for me to believe that my internship is almost over. The year has gone quickly by and the time has come to say goodbye. Over the month of July, there will be more and more endings, and the “lasts” of this and that. But I do not consider my year here to be defined by ending but by growth. I feel like I’ve grown a lot this year.
I’ve grown closer to God through you. It might be tempting to think of pastors primarily as “teachers” but they are also learners. Interns are students. The advice and faithful living that I have seen at Zion have attested to both the strength of faith and how great a God we serve. I’ve been taught about the life of faith by the people at Zion.
I’ve grown closer to you. Over the course of the year we’ve gotten to know each other and some great relationships have developed. While technology has made it easier to keep in touch, I will miss not seeing everyone regularly.
I’ve grown in my calling. There is all the work that goes into internship. Developing preaching skills, learning about pastoral care and the pastoral formation that internship is all about. I’ve learned and grown in my understanding of what it means to be a pastor.
This year my family has grown together. We welcomed Annika into our lives, and we’ve learned about living together in a new place.
I take the passage from Hebrews to heart. As interns must do, I will return to the seminary to complete my studies and requirements for ordination. But I will carry you with me as I “run the race” of the life of faith. Part of the joy of the Christian life is that we are not alone, but are surrounded by a cloud of witnesses, which is the church the saints of God. As I return to the seminary, I know that I carry you with me. I have been shaped and formed as a person and as a pastor by the time that we spent together. That influence, love and support remains, even when the race of faith calls me someplace new. And I trust that we will remain in each other’s prayers.
So thank you. Thank you for graciously accepting Rachel, Annika and me into your community and into your lives. Thank you for the opportunity to learn and develop as a pastor. Thank you for the love I’ve felt and for a great year.
Intern Pastor Phil