They blamed it on me. And they were probably right.
Yesterday was Baccalaureate Sunday, and neither of our 2 senior preachers made it 2 minutes into their sermons without crying. Apparently, I opened the floodgates just because I got a little emotional during my prayer for our graduates prior to their sermons. (We’re about to send them off to college and they’re still giving in to peer pressure?)
Sorry. I can’t help it. These kinds of days make me emotional. But it’s probably not what you think.
When 17 graduating seniors who have been the core of our youth ministry stand up in front of the church for the final time as a group, sure, there’s a bit of sadness that they are leaving. But that’s not why I get choked up. And yes, I worry about how they will fare next year when parents can’t make them come to church. But that’s not why tears well up in my eyes.
The tears well up from what feels like a spring of gratitude and joy down deep in my soul. The joy comes from having been part of their lives and from watching them grow in faith, and I feel unbelievably grateful to God for blessing me with such a high calling. I get to help kids discover how much God loves them! What could possibly be better?!?
And so the tears stream down my cheeks, but I am not embarrassed. And I dare not wipe them away because they are holy. When salty trails mark my face, I hope they are interpreted the way they did the tears of Jesus: “See how much he loves them!”
One day, when we were kids, my older brother called me a crybaby. So I punched him in the stomach and ran away. If he called me that today, I hope I’d just be proud to say “Thank you.”