In the interest of time, I omitted a few paragraphs from my sermon last week on Stewardship Dedication Sunday. Yet as we bring Stewardship Season to a close this month in anticipation of reaching our goal of 150 Financial Pledges for 2014, let me share a few sentences I had written but did not actually say: “God has already given to us the life and the means and the health and the energy and the ability to give … because … everything we think belongs to ‘us’ [and] everything we think of as ‘ours’… comes from God ‘First.’ Which is why it’s not really so ominous for us to give back a portion of what we have already received and to do so regularly and ‘First’ as a habit and discipline that can be transformed into a spiritual practice of Worship.”
The overall theme for my sermon last Sunday, “To the Glory of God,” was taken from the words of Oswald Chambers: “It is ingrained in us that we have to do exceptional things for God – but we do not. We have to be exceptional in the ordinary things of life, and holy in the ordinary streets, among ordinary people – and this is not learned in five minutes.” In other words, one of the ways we become “exceptional” in the “ordinary things of life” is by developing the habit and the discipline of giving … which can be “a spiritual practice of Worship.”
C.S. Lewis once said, “I do not pray to change God; I pray to change me!” The same is true of giving: “I do not give because God needs what I give; I give because I need to give!” Giving changes “us” … and giving can be “a spiritual practice of Worship.”
If you have not yet made your Financial Pledge for 2014, please do so. The Session hopes to finalize our plans for 2014 at the November 17th Stated Meeting as we turn our attention toward Harvest of Gifts Sunday on November 24th when we will make our Time and Talent Pledges during Worship.
This Sunday we celebrate the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper as part of our annual All Saints’ Service. During the Great Prayer of Thanksgiving Daria will read the names of those in our church family we have lost to death since last year’s All Saints’ Service. We will also hear about ways we can participate in the coming weeks with Samaritan’s Purse and the “Operation Christmas Child” shoebox ministry.
The Season of Thanksgiving-Advent-Christmas is already upon us. I look forward to sharing it with you and to experiencing the many opportunities for ministry and service during November and December.
God's Grace and Peace,