We have a patriarch in the church. He hasn’t been there long; he moved in next door last winter. I didn’t decide to call him patriarch. He mentioned the label in jest, but it fits. He’s old enough and he has all the authority. The thing about patriarchs is that they aren’t always fun to have around. They have earned the right to be heard, and sometimes their crankiness speaks louder than their saintliness. I have met a few like that. This patriarch deserves to be heard. In his day, he was one of the most prominent pastors in the denomination. Read our denominational history, and his name is all over it. He was innovative and touched thousands of lives. He was on the radio and pastored some big churches. He is the chancellor of my seminary; he handed me my degree. I’ve met some patriarchs who don’t like the new ways and wonder why things are different. It’s completely understandable. But this man is not like that. I have grown to really appreciate this man. I have never heard him say a negative word about anyone. He is sharp and funny. He is not blind to people’s faults, but he chooses to be gracious. Last night, I heard him casually share a passage of Scripture that meant a lot to him. He just talked, but it was one of the best sermons I’ve heard in a long time. It was cool. They say you become more like yourself as you age. That’s why some get grumpier I guess. I want to age like this man. I may not do everything he’s done, but I can at least aspire to choose the gracious route and to develop even part of the character of this man. This is what patriarchs were meant to be.