“Every generous act of giving, with every perfect gift, is from above…”
James 1:17, New Revised Standard Version
All Souls Day, November 2, 2021
Every pledge campaign begins with gratitude, and that is how I want to begin my message to you this fall. I am inspired by your generosity – by the grand acts that you have accomplished this year, by the single acts of love and kindness, and by the unseen work you have done in the service of God and our community. I feel deep gratitude for you and your gifts.
On Sunday, a member walked out of worship and said to me: "Dina, if I had not walked into this church a year ago, I would be dead." This new member of our congregation was at a low point when he first came to worship God with us. His friend, a member of the congregation for many years, reached out in love to help at that low point, and God used their friendship to provide the care and compassion needed to save a life.
Many have struggled over the past twenty months. Many have hit their low, and many have reached out in love. That is a gift of faithful community. That is what meets a person who walks through our actual doors for a service or hops onto our livestream services or into daily Morning Prayer & Bible Study on zoom.
Our pledge campaign this year focuses on our gifts-- all of the gifts that we give throughout the year to God, to one another, and to those around us in the larger community. Today I want to focus on the gift of your time.
Time is a gift that we cannot replace with anything else. Time, once given, cannot be reclaimed. I am inspired by the ways that you give of your time to your loved ones, the work you do in this beautiful world, and to this community in the ministries we share.
Whether your gift of time can be measured...
in hours spent participating in worship or volunteering in the community,
or in minutes spent reaching out to encourage someone stuck in a low spot,
the people of St. Andrew's are generous with their time.
Thank you for the gift of time you have lavished for the good of God's people!
In a beloved story, The Little Prince, the author Saint-Exupéry describes how the prince tends his beloved rose: “It is the time you have spent on your rose, that makes your rose so important.” Our community is that rose, tended gently and blessed abundantly by the time you give to God and to others.
In this season where we lift up our gifts to God, I hold you up in light, love, and leadership. Over the coming weeks you will be hearing more about gifts given and received at St. Andrew's, especially as we prepare to celebrate on Sunday, November 14th. See the invitation below. Let us gather and celebrate our many gifts together!
You are a gift, plain and simple. You are gifts to each other and to a world in need of the love of God that lifts us all out of our lowest moment into new life.
In gratitude to God for you and your gifts,
The Rev. Dina van Klaveren, Rector