A weekly Rector’s Notes Article, October 14, 2019
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A popular, often ironic (intentionally or not), tag on social media is: #blessed.
This tag is to represent that all that person has is somehow a blessing from God, including the brand new car, brand new clothes, and the unchecked and unexamined privilege of wealth and societal position that has provided those things without much faith work by the recipient.
This is not to discredit the legitimate feelings of blessings some of these posters feel, but to put the onus on God to be the provider of material “blessings” misses the point on a number of fronts, not the least of which is what blessing truly means for people of faith.
When I asked the congregation to respond to two questions in my sermon this week, the answers I received pointed to one thing, we are blessed and we provide blessing to others in this space of worship that we call St. Stephen’s. St. Stephen’s provides a unique experience of faith, a unique community of believers, a unique opportunity to reflect on the blessings that we have received from God and how we are called to share those blessings with this world.
And, none of those blessings are of the material variety.
Stewardship challenges us with care-taking. And, in that care-taking we must take stock of the foundational blessings we receive from this place, and work to insure that this foundation is adequately supported through our stewardship.
We are challenged to understand that the financial resources we have obtained for our work and labors are not, in and of themselves, a blessing from God, but rather they are a recognition of the value society places on our unique forms of labor, but through this value we can create space for God’s blessings to spread throughout our community, our world, by enabling that blessing to be felt and experienced by as many as possible.
We are blessed in this life, because we have a place where we can experience things that we cannot find anywhere else in our lives: a church family, a courage and challenge to serve, an inner warmth, communion with a specific group of friends that gather together in this place for this purpose. Through our stewardship, we enable these blessings to continue being felt by all in our midst.
I want to send you today with this prayer as you consider how your stewardship will continue to create a space for God’ blessings to be felt by all touched by this place:
Gracious God, giver of all we have and hold as stewards; grant the people of this church a deep and abiding awareness that all things come from you – our health, our incomes, our jobs, our talents and our generous impulse. Send your Holy Spirit to help us as we swim against the rising tides of materialism, envy, individualism and greed in our culture. When we are tempted to think of money as a private matter, remind us that you have asked for part of what we are given, to be returned to you as a symbol of our awareness that you give all we have. And further, help us to help each other in this grace of giving, for you are the lover of our souls and call us to nothing less than transformation in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.