There is something deeply agrarian and bodily to this time of year, even for the city-dweller. We don’t have to gather up our sheaves, but our bodies want to make sure that “all is safely gathered in” nonetheless. I find myself buying more than I need to at the grocery store, loving the feeling of shelves deeply stocked with canned beans, pasta, rice, jam, pickles. Either I was a farmwife in a past life, or my Pilgrim ancestors’ DNA never got switched off.
Last Sunday I preached about the need to catch people—and likewise release them to God’s care at the proper time. This Sunday, a similar theme, but instead of people: goods and resources are what we release to God’s care. The urge to gather is holy—and so is the call to take a portion of what we have—the top 10%, the cream of the crop—and hand it over to the rest of the Body.
It’s Stewardship Sunday, the time when we bring our pledge cards, bless and tally them, with our breath held, to see what the final numbers are. Will it be more than last year? How much more? Will we balance the budget again? Will we be able to give our staff a cost of living increase? Or even hire a dedicated someone to lead our children’s ministry program with creativity and competence? How much will we be able to give away to people who are really suffering?
Hebrew scripture introduced the idea of a tithe—giving God a tenth of the harvest, and, if it was too unwieldy to bring all that grain to the Temple, to convert it into cash. We’ll talk about the biblical tithe, and how it plays in modern times. We’ll talk about giving as one of the essential spiritual practices—how it is one more way (whether our heart is in it from the start, or not) to reliably undercut our own natural, human, self-oriented impulses, the impulses that actually make our lives smaller instead of bigger. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be, also.
Mike R. is our able liturgist! Rev. Jeff will pray with us. 9am Sunday school and church, 11am choir and church. Choir rehearsal (and children’s choir rehearsal) at 10am if you’d like to sing