Friday, November 10, 2006

The Nugget, Nov 2006

"God is able to provide you
with every blessing in abundance…
God scatters abroad, God gives to the poor;
God's righteousness endures forever."
(2 Cor. 9.8-9)

November for us is a time when two key concerns get brought into clear focus. Our Stewardship campaign and Thanksgiving.

I hope you are making your plans to be with us for that special day Sunday November 12. That is when we will gather for worship at 9 a.m., and then share together in fellowship hall a Stewardship Brunch after worship, about 10:30. It will be an opportunity to celebrate our life together, as we think and plan for the financial support of the church in the coming year. We want everyone to be part of this important effort to underwrite the work of our congregation.

November is also a time of Thanksgiving, to celebrate that holiday, but also to find with ourselves the genuine spirit of Thanksgiving. There is no better way of doing Stewardship than by thinking of it in terms of gratitude. We have been blessed by God and need to respond with grateful hearts.

This whole matter of being blessed by God is something that the head has trouble with. But because we are people of faith, it rings true. We cannot escape it: we have made a place for God in our lives, and we cannot discount that. We hear words like those at the top of this article from the writings of Paul, about God being able to care for us. We hear words about not worrying endlessly about how we will get by if we give to the church. And deep in our hearts a familiar tone is struck. This language of faith strikes a responsive chord. The culmination of the whole matter was, for Paul, an expression of gratitude: "Thanks be to God for the indescribable gift."

A more lofty celebration of the gifts of God could not be made. A simple outburst of love and devotion and worship. This was the outpouring of a heart touched by God's abundant grace.

A couple was visiting a beautiful cathedral in a Midwestern city. They had just
wandered in off the street and wanted to rest for a few minutes. They sat down and admired stunning stained glass windows and solemn pillars and mostly empty pews on this Tuesday afternoon. The organ began playing, so they listen for a bit.

It was fabulous. After a few very impressive pieces, they saw the organist step away from the organ and start to walk out of the church. Only then did they noticed that this man seemed rather unkempt, not too different from some of the street people they had seen. One of them complimented the man on his beautiful playing.

“Are you the regular organist? Do you play here often?”

“Mine is an interesting story,” he said. “Are you sure you want to hear it?”

“Why yes, of course.”

“I once lived in this community, and am just back here for a visit and to play this organ,” he said. “A few years ago I was quite wealthy and was active in the life of this church. I did so well that I actually gave the funds to purchase this organ.

“But then I lost virtually everything. And now I am barely getting by. But I like to come here and see this great church, because it reminds me of how much good my giving is still doing. Do you understand what I am trying to say? All I have left is what I gave away.”
There will come a time when that will be true for each of us. And we will understand that all our giving does far more than we might imagine.

“Thanks be to God for the indescribable gift.”

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