During service on Sunday, we brought our pledge cards forward, put them in a basket, and then stood together to offer the Thanksgiving Litany, in appreciation of the many gifts with which we have been blessed, and the opportunity of sharing same gifts with our community of faith. It was indeed a special day, and I cannot thank you enough for the genuine and heartfelt commitment you have made to support our common life. Thank you.
Over the years, many of us have given generously to advance the mission and ministry of Christ Church. And Sunday was no different. I was touched by your kindness. There’s a part of me that stands in awe of all the love that you shower on this wonderful parish. I thank you for blessing our parish with gifts that pour from the depths of your hearts. Thank you.
A few days ago, I got an email from our Sr. Warden, Steve Alpern, about a parishioner who made a generous donation to help fix the doors of New Brick. It is gratifying to know that there are times when parishioners recognize a need, and without any prompting, give generously in thanksgiving for the abundance of their blessings to help address that need. This reminds me of Jesus’ thoughts when he said that those to whom much is given, much is required. In a sense, many of you give out of abundance, and more than that you give because you have turned the practice of giving into a joyful habit. Thank you.
We also do have parishioners who do not pledge but have been extremely kind to Christ Church with your generosity, especially at the end of the year, when we have to catch up on all our expenses before the year closes. Thank you, and more blessings to you. You step up when our bottom-line seems precarious, and you hold us up with a kind of gratitude fueled by your unending joy and belief in the mission and ministry of this wonderful parish. Thank you.
There’s a story of a church which holds a big All Saints Day Requiem Eucharist, and a wonderful reception for the homeless. The church takes an offering during the service. And strangely enough, the homeless, people who have just about nothing, people who rely on the benevolence of people like you and me, drop their pennies, dimes, cents and quarters in the offering plate. They are poor, and yet they give. According to the story, that is the one time you hear cacophony of sounds of coins striking the metal offering plate in that church.
The story reminded me of the gospel reading for last Sunday, where the widow gave out of her poverty to the treasury. I learned that people who give out of their poverty give from the very place where they are the weakest. I believe one of the lessons we learn from giving out of poverty is an invitation to give from the place in our lives that feels weak, thin, or poor. Poverty may not only be about money, but it could be about relationships, love, happiness, or even courage. In spite of how poor, weak, or thin we may feel in a particular area of our lives, it is of a truth that for transformation to be made possible, we ought to give from that very place where we feel the weakest.
In as much as I thank you all from the bottom of my heart for your kindness and generosity in support of our common life, I’d also like to encourage those who have not as yet made a pledge, to consider our kind invitation to give from the place where they feel the weakest -out of their poverty. For I have no doubt in my mind that that’s how God’s blessings are made manifest in our lives and perfect in our weakness.
Again, with a grateful heart, thank you!