Grace, Gratitude, and Growth
- The Rev. Dr. Bill Murray
- Oct 04, 2018
- Blog Feed
The Rev. John Claypool knows exactly where stewardship begins when he states, “Before you there was no one like you.” God has made each and every one of us out of nothing. We call this free, unmerited love which God bestows on us grace. To understand stewardship we have to start at the beginning. God made us, loves us, and gives us everything we have. The bounty of our lives is where we have to begin.
If we begin with grace, then the natural response should be gratitude. We should be thankful for the life we have, for the breath in our lungs, and for everything that brings us joy and keeps us alive. Everything is gift and the only way we can respond is to be grateful. We start with nothing and all is given. Therefore, cultivating an attitude of gratitude is the most faithful way to engage our world. If we see our world as a gift freely given, then we can share that benefit with others. And, yes, sharing with the church is part of that way of saying, “Thank you.”
The theology is startlingly simple. We have been blessed with grace, we share our gifts in gratitude, and, here comes the hard part for Episcopalians, we share our stories with others to help them see the world through the light of God’s love. Yes, I am speaking of Evangelism. We are called to invite folks to church and help them discover the joys of being in God’s community.
Our Stewardship Campaign this year is called Grace, Gratitude, and Growth. We are trying to help folks see this three-step process that flows from God’s love to thankfulness to welcoming others into our community. This movement will be one that we are working to build into our budget. We want to invest in three areas. First we need to work to maintain the beautiful buildings that we have and for which we are thankful. Second we want to invest in growth by focusing on families, welcoming newcomers, and building a stronger website. Finally, we want to enhance some of our existing programs and take care of our staff. We outlined these hopes in our Stewardship Letter.
We will work to incarnate this theology by all submitting our pledges together on Sunday, November 4. At all of our services, we will come forward together to present our pledges. To be clear, the process would be a moment in each service where, hopefully, everyone comes forward to place their pledge in a basket at the altar. The idea is that Holy Innocents’ thrives when the whole community is gathered in God’s name and shares their gifts with one another. My great hope and prayer is that Holy Innocents’ will begin to see that we are blessed with God’s grace, we will grow in gratitude, and we will grow and thrive in the months and years ahead. Please prayerfully consider giving generously to reflect the gifts God has given you and to help Holy Innocents’ grow.