Pentecost. I guess if you’re into superheroes, it’s a little like Shazam. And if you’re into horror movies… Oh wait, maybe that first Penetcost was kind of like this:
So, my friend Ken has been stewardship chair at his congregation for the past 3 years. What a soldier! We were talking, and I mentioned that we’ve recruited a new chair at Christ Church. He thought that was pretty interesting!
“What did you tell her about it?”
I got thinking about it. To tell you the truth, I don’t remember what all I told her. But I do remember that it kind of fired her up a little bit. Of course, I’m relieved to have a replacement. Leading stewardship is usually like marriage – till death do we part. Councils love you for taking up that cross, and they never want you to leave. Heck, every time I told someone I was thinking of doing something else, they’d say:
“Denied. Not allowed!”
Nice vote of confidence, that! And to tell the truth, if it wasn’t for discernment, I might still be chair.
Because it changed my life.
So for Ken’s sake, I thought I’d bang out some thoughts about it. What would I tell you about the pleasure of stewardship?
I want to walk as a child of the light. I want to follow Jesus.
God set the stars to give light to the world. The star of my life is Jesus.
In him there is no darkness at all. The night and the day are both alike.
The Lamb is the light of the city of God. Shine in my heart, Lord Jesus.
I want to see the brightness of God. I want to look at Jesus.
Clear Sun of righteousness, shine on my path, and show me the way to the Father.
I’m looking for the coming of Christ. I want to be with Jesus.
When we have run with patience the race, we shall know the joy of Jesus.
I have been taught that in baptism, God gave me the gift of His Holy Spirit, to reside within me and accompany me throughout my life, instilling me with the faith that I cannot myself construct. I am reminded of Luther’s Small Catechism, regarding the third article of the Apostles’ Creed. This class has been teaching me about the means of grace, administered to all of us assembled in worship. So, I see every worship service as my re-baptism. Each time I participate and experience the Holy Spirit given to us through Word and Sacrament, the experience seems like a repeat of the same transference that happened in my own baptism.
Theologically, I understand Holy Communion to be one of the two sacraments outlined by Lutheran doctrine. In a sacrament, the means of grace make use of everyday objects in the conveyance of God’s grace. In baptism, water is used in a symbolic washing, as the Holy Spirit comes to dwell within the one who is baptized. This evokes John the Baptist washing Jesus with water to absolve him of sin, and God revealing Jesus as Son. In communion, bread is broken, wine is poured, and both are blessed and offered to the assembly. This evokes the last supper, where Jesus blessed bread and wine and commanded that this ritual be done in remembrance of him, with Jesus himself embodying God’s grace.
I find it difficult to think of a singularly favorite season of the church year. For me, the sequence of seasons and their themes give a sense of time’s movement. Somehow, their changing moods reinforce my sense that my own faith is not static, but continues to grow and to change in unexpected ways. I find myself feeling hopeful in this unfolding of the unknown, excited and curious about what new understandings or emotions will be coming to me. Though, I recognize that this uncertainty can instead be stressful for many people, as well. Because hope seems to be a particularly strong emotion for me, I can say that advent holds special meaning for me.
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