Crisp bright days and chilly nights, autumn leaves in a riot of color – we can’t miss the movement of God’s creation outside. This is one of Washington’s most beautiful times. I’m so glad I live in a place with four real seasons!
Yes, God has outdone Godself once again in the splendor of creation around us. We now need to look within – within ourselves, within our church – to see and mark what God is doing in us. This is not as easy to point to as a sugar maple glowing an impossible shade of orange, but our inner lives are just as much the site of God’s creative work!
What has God been doing in you – in your heart, your mind? Where has God moved you toward greater love, a growing passion for justice, a heart for people who are poor and struggling? Where has God given you greater joy and gladness? Where is God calling you to greater generosity? What is the harvest God wants to gather in?
Our parish’s Annual Giving Campaign begins today. Every year, we take stock of where we’ve been and where we’re going. We open our eyes to see God’s gracious hand at work in our lives and in our world. And then we respond with our own offering of praise and thanksgiving…for the church and for the world.
Our response – our pledge to St. Dunstan’s – is first and foremost a spiritual offering, a part of our spiritual journey with God. It is our small act of reciprocation to God’s huge gift of life and love and beauty. Most of us here have been given so much more than we need. At our house, our problem is too much stuff, not too little!
But we have an opportunity, with our giving, to make a difference in the lives of others…to welcome and teach children in our faith, to help students in Ecuador, to feed the hungry in Washington, to care for a neighbor who is sick or is grieving a death. We gather to celebrate births and marriages and all the milestones of life.
Through our pledge to our parish church, we can touch people in real need. We also uphold this wonderful house of God and keep it strong, as our forebears have done since 1958.
The Judeo-Christian tradition has always upheld the tithe – 10% of income – as our standard of giving. That may seem like a lot, but it is a goal that can be reached. We can take small steps every year to increase our giving. Our parish needs more money each year, just to continue our current ministries. Can you take a step upward in your pledge commitment for 2016?
Some folks who feel stretched by expenses work toward giving 5% to the church. If your income is $100,000, that would be a $5,000 pledge. That’s easier on a tight budget, and yet still so helpful to the parish! Every single pledge makes a difference in this community, so please listen to the voices of our 4 week campaign, read the letters in the mail, and make this your most generous year ever. JBM