Nothing is required

I have always thought that questions about our vocation in life are inextricably caught up with the idea of stewardship. We cannot think about who we are called to be and become without considering what we have been given to care for and nurture to growth.

Gratitude is the primary spiritual virtue. From this place we can hold lightly what we have been given and be free to give back from what has been given to our care. We have been given time and talents and resources and the creative abilities to steward these in life-giving ways. And yet we can so easily get this wrong, thinking either transactionally – we give so we can get back – or else we reach for a way of sacrifice which can be self-negating and harmful.

How do we determine how much we give of our time and abilities and finances to others? In some Christian churches there is a quantifiable percentage put on the desirable amount of both time and money to give back to the church. I think this is dangerous and potentially abusive. It is so much more important that we communicate that we operate on a completely different paradigm. So much in our culture insists that you have to give to get and everyone has to look after themselves first. The way of Jesus, however, is a way of unconditional love and liberating grace. God seeks us out as we are, not as we should be, and never determines our value according to how much of a contribution we make. There is nothing we can do to make God love us more, and nothing we can do to make God love us less.

The way we think about stewardship should mirror this ethic of grace. We are created in, by and for love, and our vocation is to live into that beloved self. In doing this we are set free to give of our time, resources and giftings, not because it is our duty or because we are obliged to, but because in the giving we become co-creators of God’s kingdom and in that is joy and life.

In the next couple of weeks we will be providing the opportunity to consider stewardship of time, talents and resources. On Sat/Sun services on the 13th/14th of November there will be time given to filling out some responses about where you feel called into the ministries and life of this community. There will also be a financial commitment form that is a practical way of helping our parish make responsible financial decisions for the future. Both of these forms can be found here:

Giving – https://drive.google.com/file/d/1KgnoblYpcUwpKUIxJA8kiyBfaJWIIS8l/view?usp=sharing
Ministry Groups – https://drive.google.com/file/d/1NvgPWpak8_B6eSThMboUwxIGt4DX7TJG/view?usp=sharing

If you would like time to read and prayerfully reflect before completing. I pray that every member of this community may feel no obligation but know that they are held in love and grace. Nothing is required but everything is offered. May we set out into this next year in joyful freedom, grateful to God for the gift we are to one another and for the good work that is before us in the year to come.

Grace and peace,
Sue+

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