A Letter From Our Rector

The Rev. Eileen Walsh, Rector

Deacon Margery


Dear St. Christopher’s Family,
 
The rector of a small church had become very distressed over the low amount that was coming in every week from the collection plate.  So, one Sunday he announced from the pulpit, 'Before we pass the collection plate I would like to request that anyone who has lied, cheated, stolen, run around or committed other terrible sins during this past week NOT put any money in the collection plate today because the Lord doesn't want money from serious sinners.'  The collection plate was passed and it took forever to get around because for the first time in many months everybody put something in the plate and the plate was overflowing!

Well I hope this story is fictitious because I would have serious issues with this rector’s theology.  We do not give to the church in order to cover up the fact that we are sinners, neither do we give to the church as a way to atone for those sins.  It is indeed a fact that we are all sinners.  We sinners, however, believe that those sins have been forgiven through the power of Christ’s death and resurrection.  No amount of money will make that any more or less true.

The hope is that we do not give out of guilt or shame, out of a sense of obligation or because we feel we’ve been coerced into giving, but rather we give to the church out of a sense of gratitude for all we have been given.  What kind of a price could any of us put on our lives?  On the promise that even though we are all sinners, our sins have been forgiven?  On eternal life?  There is not enough treasure, time or talent in the world.  What we can do is be grateful for all we have been given and give back out of our treasure, our time and our talent.  There is a sure test to see if we are giving out of gratitude or for any of the other reasons I’ve listed.  If giving is a burden, if we become burned out because we are doing too much, than we are probably giving and doing for reasons other than gratitude.  It is important to constantly check in with ourselves.  A grateful heart does not put added stress on itself – part of the way we show our gratitude to God is by caring for ourselves, our souls and bodies as it says in Rite I.

As you all know it is that time of year again when we will all be asked to show our gratitude to God for the gift of Saint Christopher’s.  One of the many ways we do that is by offering a pledge of our time, talent and treasure.  Search your hearts, not out of obligation, not out of guilt, not even because it is the “right thing to do.”  Search your hearts with a sense of gratitude for all that you have been given by God through this place.  Pray, not so much to discern what you are to give, but with a sense of adoration for all you have been given, the discernment will come.  Pray and search your hearts.  Search your hearts and respond.

With gratitude for all of you,
Eileen+


rector@st-christophers-portsmouth.org

Episcopal Relief and Development
Hurricane Harvey Response Fund
P.O. Box 7058
Merrifield, Va. 22116
www.episcopalrelief.org

www.texasdiaperbank.org

(People often forget that in times of disaster people not only need food and water but families with young children and babies need diapers!)

 

 

 
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