Last week we began mailing out the “Pledge Your Love” campaign letters and cards to individual homes of our parishioners and friends. We will also have several of the cards in the narthex for those who have not as yet received theirs or those who are new to our parish and feel called to pledge their love in support of our life together.
Each fall, members and friends of Christ Church make an annual pledge to support the Mission and Ministry Budget of our church. Unlike many parishes that do have an endowments upon which they can draw funds to support their mission and ministry, Christ Church doesn’t have one, and so we have to rely on each and every one of our members and friends to give generously towards our life together.
This brings me to a story about the Berlin Wall, and each giving what he (she) has. It is said that when the Berlin Wall was constructed, diving Germany into East and West, turning neighbors into strangers and friends into enemies, it so happened that those on the Eastern side of the border increasingly became poor, hungry and destitute whiles their former neighbors on the Western side of the border became increasingly rich and lived a much more comfortable life.
One night, those who lived on the Eastern side of the Wall, picked up as much trash as they could and unloaded the trash on the Western side of the Wall. Those on the Western side of the wall awoke to find this unsavory sight of trash. They knew that their neighbors beyond the wall did it. However, instead of responding in kind, they thought about all the wonderful things that they have to enjoy but which their neighbors on the Eastern side did lack. They were keenly aware that their Eastern neighbors were hungry and didn’t have some of the good things they had.
What they decided to do was to buy lots and lots of grocery supplies: milk, cheese, ham, eggs, bread, cereal, bacon, burger, rolls, chicken etc. They neatly packed the supplies on the Eastern side of the border, and then, on a poster board, they wrote “Each Gives What He Has”, placed it on the supplies and departed into the darkness of the Western side of the wall.
Each indeed gives what he or she has. Those on the East had trash, and that’s what they gave. Those on the West had food, and that’s what they gave. What do you have to give? I am reminded of the idea of giftedness- give and it shall be given to you. But the honest truth is that you must receive in order to give. So the question is not so much about what you can give, but what has been freely given to you. It is in that spirit that we are being invited to give, and to give generously towards the ministry of our beloved Christ Church.
In many ways, this has been a great year, and it is mainly due to your kindness. I offer grateful thanks for the many ways in which you have blessed Christ Church, and so bid your generosity at this time.
It is my fervent prayer that each of us may be moved, encouraged and motivated to give what he or she has in celebration of all that has been given to them.