“I am a part of all that I have met.”
Tennyson put it this way in Ulysses
Much have I seen and known; cities of men / And manners, climates, councils, governments,
Myself not least, [for]…I am a part of all that I have met;
I am a part of this Church of Our Saviour and I am a part of all of you that I have met. It is that concept that relates to this coming Sunday of our Stewardship – our day to consider what it means to be a part of this amazing grace-filled family, this church.
You have listened over that last few weeks to the words of the four Senior Wardens who have served during my years as the priest in charge of this congregation, now in my sixth year. Their Stewardship testimony-sharing has eloquently expressed what we as the People of God at COS are all about.
Stewardship at it core is about love. God’s love for you AND your love for each other. Know that you are loved deeply and unconditionally … not by a Being who has love for you, because God does not HAVE love. God IS love. And that’s it, all of it.
Once a person comes to embrace that simple reality, without comprehending really, just embracing the reality, the rest is simple. There is nothing more that is needed.
Why do I share with Peg in tithing to this Church as well as supporting Immanuel Mission Church? It’s simple: I have found a place to express the love I feel and the love I have known.
Why should YOU respond this Sunday to the invitation to come forward to the high altar with your pledge? Why should you consider the tithe or consider moving toward a tithe? For no other reason than the reason that you are loved, unconditionally, undoubtedly, unswervingly, and unrelentingly – loved for who you are and not for what you give.
Give. And what you give will be treated with not just respect, but with reverence.
Give. Give in joy. Give an increased amount if you can, as your Vestry has led the way with an increase in total giving.
Give. And know that 70 cents of every dollar that comes through donations, fund-raising, grant writing, and responsible investment, will be spent not on ourselves, but on the ministry of healing and serving the 14,000 individuals—3,000 of whom are children—who are not our members but ARE our people.
Give. Because we are part of all that we meet through the Food Bank, Transitional Housing, Kid’s Campus, St. Paul’s in the Galilee, Cleaver Clinic, and the many ministries of the Diocese supported by our Mission Share.
Give. Because we are part of all that we meet through our ministries from Sunday School to Senior SAGES, from Bible Study to visitation of the sick, from the holy work of the Altar Guild to thewhole range of spiritual offerings from Choir to Taize’ worship.
Give. And embrace the simple reality of God’s love for you and for all that you meet, for you are a part of us in spiritual friendship.
“I am a part of all that I have met.” In the name of the God of All the Saints. Amen.