Monday, February 24, 2014

Sermon for 2/23/2014: LOVE YOUR ENEMIES!

Sermon for 2/23/2014 from Pr. Mark T. Peterson at Christ the King Lutheran Church, Holliston, MA.

Gospel: Matthew 5:38–48
38"You have heard that it was said, 'An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.'  39But I say to you, Do not resist an evildoer. But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also;  40and if anyone wants to sue you and take your coat, give your cloak as well;  41and if anyone forces you to go one mile, go also the second mile.  42Give to everyone who begs from you, and do not refuse anyone who wants to borrow from you.
             43"You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.'  44But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,  45so that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous.  46For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?  47And if you greet only your brothers and sisters, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?  48Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

Greetings to you in the name of Jesus Christ,
I’m not sure if you’ve noticed or not, but every week, during our prayers, we include a prayer for our enemies.

This is also something we did at the congregation I was serving on my internship in South Carolina. My supervisor Pastor Will and I sometimes would ponder what would happen if we went beyond this generalized prayer, and made things more specific, like saying, “we pray for our enemies…Al Qaida, Bin Laden, …” We wondered how people would react to this, because it would really be striking, and unnerving to hear this prayer spoken out loud.

And, since we weren’t 100% serious all the time, we also joked around about praying for our enemies and then mentioning the other person “We pray for our enemies….like Pastor Will.”

And, it is good that we pray for our enemies every week, but when we actually get a little more specific, praying for our enemies becomes a little more difficult. I don’t know if you’ve ever done it, I have from time to time and to be completely forthright, it’s very, uncomfortable.

There’ve been times in my life when I’m really angered, or annoyed, or even hurt by people, and a tinge of guilt comes in and I’m drawn to pray for them. I mean like actually say or consciously think “God, be with so and so.” I’d like to say that in these times, all the negative emotions just melt away and I’m given inner-peace, but really, I tend to find myself just sort of carrying out a stupid duty for a God who’s a little bit crazy and overboard in loving all people more than we can comprehend.

The truth is, is that loving your enemy, even just by praying for them, goes against so much of our human nature. Really, if it was easy to love our enemies, we probably wouldn’t have enemies. But loving our enemies is what, among other things, Jesus is calling us to do as we hear once again from his Sermon on the Mount. And, this teaching is a nice thing for us to say and put on bumper stickers, but carrying out this command is a little tougher.

For instance, how many of those gathered around the mount where Jesus was preaching gave this an amen…at least in their heads. And maybe, those gathered left the mount that day inspired and uplifted by this message of love from Jesus. But then, later on, how many of those folks, when they saw Jesus loving even those who had nailed him to the cross, decided that our love should certainly have limits, that Jesus was taking things a bit far. When Jesus put loving his enemies into practice, it was really costly.

The concept of loving our enemies isn’t any easier for us today. What happens to us when we hear names like Zhokar Tsarnaev, Aaron Hernandez, Westboro Baptist Church, Al Qaida, or the Canadian Hockey team? If you’re like me, you don’t exactly get happy thoughts in your head. Or think about someone who has really done you wrong in life, the people who have twisted your stomach in bitter knots before. Now, if we’re real charitable people, we might not have great scorn and spite for these people, but we don’t have love for them either.

Now, as we’re thinking about these people, as we get anxious and tight, I want you to think about someone else. A baby boy named Lucas. Lucas is going to be baptized today, right here at Christ the King. In baptism, we will become Lucas’ family in faith, and we, along with his parents and family and Godparents will promise to nurture him with love, so that he may come to trust in the God that we worship today. This God, is shown to us in Jesus, and this God is shown to us not just in Jesus’ words and teaching, but ultimately in his act of loving us humans, even while we killed him.

So, how will we, as the Body of Christ, as a family of faith, show and teach and share our savior with Lucas? Will we show Lucas a savior who said a lot of nice things a long time ago? Or, will we show Lucas that that savior is risen and living and doing those nice things, like being merciful and loving towards us today? Are we called to just tell Lucas the story of Jesus, or are we called by baptism to be the story of Jesus for Lucas?

Indeed, we’ve been called to be the story of Jesus for Lucas. We’ve been called to love our enemies not just as a matter of concept, but as a matter of practice. We’ve been called to be this story for Lucas, so that he can learn to be a part of that story too. We’ve been called to be this story, because if we don’t love our enemies, if instead we insist on revenge and human justice, if we follow our sinful human instincts to take an eye for an eye, there will be only a world of blind hatred for Lucas and for all our children.

In this time and place, the price for showing love to our enemies isn’t high. For instance, we aren’t peacefully marching unarmed into violent mobs. We aren’t standing between protestors and police like some Priests in the Ukraine, nor are we urgently sending out messages like this from the Ukranian Greek Catholic Church,  “Every person, no matter which side of the fence they are on, is a child of God and needs to protect every human life.”  But, there is a price, there is a call, there is a Savior among us who is here doing something for us, and that Savior is here freeing us from our hate. There is a Savior who is here today giving new birth to another human being and feeding us with his life.

And so, this morning, while we might not be called to march or face physical threats, we will face down our own instincts and hate with Christ’s love. We will pray for our “enemies”, the type of people who have done us harm or wish to do us harm. And when we have moments to pray on our lips and in our hearts, perhaps you will be called to pray for someone who fits this description, whether someone on a global scale, or in your personal life. We will pray for these people so that God will help us to love them in the same way that God loves them, and each of us. We will pray for these people, because if we refuse, than we are those people. We will pray for these people, remembering that as Jesus was dying on a cross, he prayed “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” for each of us.

Loving our enemies isn’t easy, it doesn’t seem natural, but this is how God has saved each of us and the world. May God continue to make us bearers of this merciful love, so that we may bear it for Lucas and for all those with whom he will share this life-giving love.

In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,


Monday, February 17, 2014

Sermon for 2/16/2014: Divorce

Sermon for 2/16/2014 from Pr. Mark T. Peterson at Christ the King Lutheran Church, Holliston, MA.

Gospel: Matthew 5:21–37
21"You have heard that it was said to those of ancient times, 'You shall not murder'; and 'whoever murders shall be liable to judgment.'  22But I say to you that if you are angry with a brother or sister, you will be liable to judgment; and if you insult a brother or sister, you will be liable to the council; and if you say, 'You fool,' you will be liable to the hell of fire.  23So when you are offering your gift at the altar, if you remember that your brother or sister has something against you,  24leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother or sister, and then come and offer your gift.  25Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are on the way to court with him, or your accuser may hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you will be thrown into prison.  26Truly I tell you, you will never get out until you have paid the last penny.
             27"You have heard that it was said, 'You shall not commit adultery.'  28But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart.  29If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away; it is better for you to lose one of your members than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.  30And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away; it is better for you to lose one of your members than for your whole body to go into hell.
             31"It was also said, 'Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.'  32But I say to you that anyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of unchastity, causes her to commit adultery; and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.
             33"Again, you have heard that it was said to those of ancient times, 'You shall not swear falsely, but carry out the vows you have made to the Lord.'  34But I say to you, Do not swear at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God,  35or by the earth, for it is his footstool, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King.  36And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black.  37Let your word be 'Yes, Yes' or 'No, No'; anything more than this comes from the evil one.

Greetings to you in the name of Jesus Christ,
This morning, as we continue to hear from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, in the Gospel of Matthew for the third week in a row, there is one word that stands out, there is one word that causes a reaction in all of us….


When we hear the word divorce especially coming from the lips of Jesus, we pay a little closer attention, because it’s something we don’t need a lot of explanation about. We all know what divorce is, and we all have been affected by marriages ending, whether it’s our own, or someone we care about.

Not only do we all know what divorce is, it’s also an issue that happens for everyone to see. It’s not something we can shove and repress into the dark corners of our individual lives, instead, when a marriage ends, people know.

The public visibility of divorce and its prevalence in our lives, is why this word stands out in today’s text. But we, as Christians, don’t do a very good job talking about it. This is because we either think that using shame and disgrace is a good way to keep people from getting divorced. Or, on the other hand, we might simply chose to ignore the issue, and pretend a divorce is no big deal.

For example, a seminary professor once told us about being newly called to a congregation, and a member there came to him and shared that he was divorced. When our professor attempted to offer care by saying something along the lines of “well, that’s ok.” His parishioner stated, no, it’s not, it’s how things are, but it’s not what God intended.”

Now, when we celebrate weddings and anniversaries, the idea of marriage and commitment is on the forefront and the focus. But when marriages end it’s very difficult for us as Christians to acknowledge and deal with the pain and hurt involved when a partnership that we say was formed by God, is over. We, as Christians throw around a lot of lament, blame, and gossip, at these times, but offering grace and support to people getting divorced is not, in my experiences, the norm.

A large part of our inability to be compassionate with people going through something as tough as divorce, and offer God’s grace to them in a way that doesn’t try to just ignore the issue but instead gives comfort and hope, is because we hear Jesus’ words today as authoritative advice for living, and not as words of grace. We hear Jesus teach about divorce, and because it is something concrete in our lives, we put great efforts as human beings into accomplishing “successful marriages.” We offer classes and counseling and write book upon book on the keys or steps or foundations to a happy and healthy marriage. And when a marriage fails, we often find an excuse, or assume one, and then just sort of get on with our lives as a community of faith, even though there’s been painful change.

Perhaps, instead of singling out one section as prescriptive advice, we could hear this passage in its broader context. In the whole of this passage, the theme isn’t divorce. The theme is broken relationships and our own human role in them. It’s telling then, that we hear the word divorce, much more clearly than we hear the word murder, at least I do anyway. We hear Jesus tell us not to get divorced, but the command not to murder just rolls off of us.
But do we hear what Jesus says? Do we hear Jesus say that murder is not just about the physical act itself, but also about our thoughts and our words?

And then, as made famous and truly clarified by Jimmy Carter, Jesus broadens the command against adultery as well. When questioned on whether he’d committed the sin of adultery, Pres. Carter said, “yes, in my heart.” It’s not surprising though, that this admission didn’t create quite the same buzz and reaction as did the actual acts of Pres. Clinton.

This morning, the word divorce stands out, and we hear it in such a literal, instructive manner,  and we as Christians take it very seriously, spending a lot of time and energy and effort trying to affect healthy marriages. But then, why don’t we have books out there on the 7 steps to not thinking murderous thoughts and using insulting words?

Or, why is it so easy for us to give advice like, “you need to communicate better?” and think that sometimes two people trying to communicate effectively can seem more foreboding than cutting out our sinful eyes.

In a world of sin and brokenness, why do we shy away from pouring grace into the issue of divorce and separation when it is such a prevalent aspect of our lives together? Is it because by doing so, people may seem to think that we are endorsing divorce as what God wants, or what any of us would start out wanting? Until we change the wedding vows to say, “to have and hold until a time, to be determined” we can be pretty sure of what God wants.

But the absolute truth is that God doesn’t want any of this, God doesn’t want our murder and pain that we cause each other. God doesn’t want the shame we label some with. God doesn’t want the divorce that we have been trying to sinfully give to our creator since the very beginning.

The Good News, is that Jesus isn’t giving us these edicts and commands simply to tell us how to live “good lives.” Jesus tells us these things to illumine our lives to the sinful hurt and death we all bring to God’s creation. And Jesus tells us these things to illuminate even more that God, through Jesus’ love is not going to grant us that separation. Through the death of Jesus, God has shown us this love, and through Jesus’ eternal life, God has given us the hope of new life.

This is the hope that I saw this past week, in attending a marriage of a woman whose parents are divorced, and whose grandparents were divorced. This child of generations of divorce hadn’t given up on marriage, and neither had those who were divorced, as during this celebratory time, they were there supporting, celebrating and loving, even with their exes. This is the new life, the new hope that God brings in the midst of our lives of sin.

This is the new life and hope that God continues to give to sinful generation after sinful generation by baptizing them in waters of love. This is the hope and new life that God gives to us by handing us the gift of Jesus’ broken body and blood, to take away our sin, instead of an ax. It is for this hope and love, for God’s continued commitment to us, in our time of brokenness, that we say, thanks be to God.

In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,


Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Sermon for 2/9/2014: What ruins the potatoes??

Sermon for 2/9/2014 from Pr. Mark T. Peterson at Christ the King Lutheran Church, Holliston, MA.

Gospel: Matthew 5:13–20
13"You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything, but is thrown out and trampled under foot.
             14"You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid.  15No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house.  16In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.
             17"Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets; I have come not to abolish but to fulfill.  18For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth pass away, not one letter, not one stroke of a letter will pass from the law until all is accomplished.  19Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, will be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.  20For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

Greetings to you in the name of Jesus Christ,
You are the salt of the earth.

That’s what Jesus tells us as we continue reading from his Sermon on the Mount, from Matthew’s Gospel. You are the salt of the earth.

As I hear this, I’m reminded of the wisdom of a young boy that we often heard about from our Campus Pastor at Augsburg College, Dave Wold. Pastor Dave would tell us about this boy, who said that “Salt, is what ruins the potatoes…when you leave it out.” These words, are most certainly true.

Much in the same way, Jesus is telling us today that we are like this salty, seasoning for the earth.

This is a good thing, and kind of easy to imagine. We followers of Jesus, have been given to the earth to bring out its natural goodness and flavor. We have been made by God to love and to value those things and people that are unfortunately thought of in the same way that the boy thought of unsalted potatoes. We have been given to continue to show through our lives the magnificence that God has brought all things into being with.

So, now our charge is to go out and salt those potatoes, and this sounds great…at least in theory.

You see, the problem with a metaphor, is that we really aren’t salt. So, what does being the “salt of the earth” look like?

This past week I was given just one of many examples of what being “salt of the earth” looks like, when I had the opportunity to have lunch with a couple of local principals,. In conversation with these principals, I didn’t hear about the “Kid’s these days” and how rock and roll was ruining everything. (And we know that’s not true!) What I heard was passion for the well-being of the students and for creating the best possible situation for them to grow and learn in. The light of these educators was shining, and it was their love of “their students”.

Or, another example came when seeing the many trucks, literally out salting the roadways, so that all of us can drive safely on them. What a service these drivers provide, for us.

I have my world seasoned by salty people everywhere I look, and it’s rarely from people accomplishing great things. I am seasoned by the people who venture in this world; in their jobs, in their errands, in their families, in their internet postings, with the light of love, and care, and compassion for others going before them.

Yet, when we hear this passage today, when we hear Jesus say “You are the salt of the earth” we also hear him say, “But if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored? It’s no longer good for anything, but is thrown out and trampled underfoot.” It seems, as we hear this passage, that being the salt of the earth comes with a caveat, which is; don’t stop being salt of the earth, or you’re going to get it….”

Combine this, with Jesus talking about anyone who breaks a commandment being the “least in the Kingdom of Heaven”, and our seemingly sweet Gospel lesson becomes quite burdensome, and foreboding. It could seem that if for some reason we stop being the salt of the earth, or don’t do it as well as we should, that heavenly trouble awaits. Truly, this is a message that I’ve heard far too often, and if this is truly what our faith, and this passage is about, then I’m in some serious, heavenly trouble.

When our faith is presented like this. A sort of you are the salt of the earth, go and prove it, and if not you’re in trouble proposition, I neither know how to “not lose my salty taste”, nor do I know if I’d want to be considered “the salt of the earth” in the first place.

Thankfully, being the salt of the earth, and keeping my salty taste isn’t up to me. It is God who has made me the salt of the earth, and it is God who keeps me salty, and God has done this through Jesus.

When Jesus died on a cross, all of the earth was salted with his life. Out of his unending love for all things, we were turned from potatoes that weren’t just bland but rotting, to glorious, tasty, salty potatoes, that are loved and enjoyed by God, and which also happen to be, miraculously are low in sodium.

Furthermore, through the waters of baptism, Jesus has given us his salty life, so that he can be the salt of the earth through each of us, and the lives that we share and give to each other and to the world. Not only this, but Jesus comes to us again and again in the Eucharist, our meal of Holy Communion to feed us with his salty life, which continues to make our lives salty. The Good News is that when Jesus says to us “you are the salt of the earth” we know that it is his work that has made us this.

This morning, I tell you, and I know because you have seasoned my life, that you are the salt of the earth. May we all go out into the world, to season it with the salt we’ve been given, to share with it the Kingdom of Heaven, the Kingdom of Jesus’ love that we have been given right here and right now, with it. And may we also go out to enjoy all of creation, all of it; which has been made tasty, made salty, indeed declared good, by the unending love of Jesus Christ.

In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Sermon for 2/2/2014: Sadly blessed.

Sermon for 2/2/2014 from Pr. Mark T. Peterson at Christ the King Lutheran Church, Holliston, MA.

Gospel: Matthew 5:1–12
When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him.  2Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying:
             3"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
             4"Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
             5"Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
             6"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
             7"Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.
             8"Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
             9"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
             10"Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
             11"Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account  12Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Greetings to you in the name of Jesus Christ,
Today, is one of those days when there’s a perfect storm of significant events. We have worship, we also have the combination of Groundhog’s Day and Super Bowl Sunday…and if that’s not enough, today also happens to be not only my Grandma’s birthday, but also my wife, Carrie’s birthday, and, to top it off, our Gospel lesson for today just happens to be the same Gospel, that was read at our wedding, the famous passage known as The Beattitudes, from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount in the book of Matthew.

Will all these events that mark today, there is a bit of melancholy to them, as my Grandma’s health is rapidly failing. Yet, on my Grandma’s birthday when the thoughts of her and her situation aren’t all happy, today, as I think about my Grandma and the gathering my family will be having at her care center in Minnesota, I have never felt so blessed.

Which, to tell the truth, seems a little funny. This sense, of feeling “blessed”, as life gets a little sadder, seems to be the opposite of how things are supposed to work. This is not what we generally think of, in regards to, “being blessed”. Usually, we humans, equate being blessed, with being happy, or at least wanting to be happy. Just take the sports world for example, it’s not uncommon to see a player bless themselves with the sign of the cross before going to bat, or after scoring a touchdown. Or maybe today, a player from the winning team will thank God for blessing them with a victory. In these and other acts, it seems as if being blessed by God is about having good luck, or getting divine intervention in achieving success.

This take on being blessed by God isn’t unique to the sports world, as throughout all walks of life, being blessed, or receiving a blessing, seems almost as if one is striking a mutual happiness deal between ourselves and God. In other words, we do things that make God happy, and God does things that make us happy. And, the results of this agreement, we call blessings.

But even as something bad is happening, even as someone who has been a loving light in my life is on the verge of leaving it, I feel blessed. I feel blessed because as I think about my Grandmother, and her seemingly helpless situation, I myself, feel a little more helpless. Today, in light of these things, I feel a little meeker, a little more aware of all that life throws at us, a little less in control over everything in it, and a little more shocked at how much time has a way of speeding up on us as it passes. In other words, today, I feel a little more like the people who are blessed in the Beattitudes.

This feeling, is a little different, at least as far as I can remember, than how I felt when Carrie and I picked this passage for our wedding. Now, not speaking for Carrie, but from my point of view; well before the word Pastor had become a part of my life-plan, I thought that surely Carrie and I were joining in a marriage to be a blessing on behalf of Christ, to all those who are named in this passage. I was pretty sure that this Gospel was going to be a reminder to us, that God was calling us to be a blessing; for the poor in spirit, for the mourners, the meek, the hungry, the thirsty and the like. And, I was pretty sure that using my abilities and all the things I was good at in life, to go around making everyone happy, was what this passage was trying to tell me. But the truth of the matter is, is that I was just starting early on in our marriage in being very confident and completely wrong at the same time.

But through the years, I’ve come to hear this passage a little differently. Today, I hear this passage and feel blessed not because of all that I have, or all that I can do to help people, or because of some sort of delusional, smiley faced optimism I might have.  I feel blessed, because the more that I have been made vulnerable, and meek, and unsure of what I can do to make everyone’s life peachy keen, the more that I have become open to what God is doing here and throughout our creation. The more I become open to sharing in what God has given all of us. Now, I sort of made a joke earlier, but in being wrong once or twice in the last 9 and a half years of marriage, I’ve been blessed with the wisdom God has given through my spouse. In feeling a little meeker, I’ve been blessed with the strength of people that have overcome more than seems imaginable. And in my own struggles of spirit, I have been blessed with a Kingdom of Saints, a Body of Christ, that day after day goes  on proclaiming God’s grace and bestowing God’s blessed love upon me and all those, many, many, many people, who I am much more curse than blessing to.

Today I’m blessed, because once again, with a close reminder of the certainty of death, I will be fed with the life of Jesus Christ. I will be fed with this life by God’s grace, only because I am loved. And, most importantly, I will be fed with this life, with all of you, and the communion of saints who have shared this blessed life together through all time and place, even as far away as Minnesota.
In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Guest Post! Using your gifts.

The following message was delivered by CtK member Nancy George, the chair of the Stewardship Committee on 1/26/2014. It was wonderful to hear these words, and the words of many others who spoke about what God is doing at CtK on our Time and Talents Sunday.

Good morning – I’m Nancy George, and my husband Anthony and our children William (age 8) and Charlotte (age 6), have been members since 2006 – 8 years or so.  When we moved to the area we did a bit of church shopping but always came back to Christ the King.  We enjoyed the worship service and always received a warm greeting.  We decided to become members and were welcomed at a new member Sunday along with 7 other families…6 still attend today.    I’ve been a member of the Stewardship Board for 8 years and the Chair for the last year.

I’m here to talk a little bit about what serving in a lay ministry role has meant to me.  I have come to experience that serving our church in whatever capacity – is a form of ministry.  And it helps the church, of course, but it has also helped me.  Maybe you’ve felt this too if you’ve served on a board or other volunteer activity.  You leave a meeting feeling like you’ve experienced a special moment with God.  I can say that many times, in fact most times, I leave CTK after a Stewardship meeting – and really feel like I just spent time with Jesus.  It’s not “what would Jesus do?”  It’s the answer…”ah, ok, this is Jesus speaking through us to do his Will here on Earth.”  The former chair of the Stewardship Board, Heidi Bertram, would call that experience a “God wink”…..a God wink is a divinely inspired moment or happening usually occurring while you’re doing something else on the Lord’s behalf.  And if you know Heidi, you know that God winks at her A LOT.  Even while I was busy with 2 little children at home, I always looked forward to attending a Stewardship Board meeting (“Bye! Mommy going to a meeting now!”)  Oh, and Stewardship meets once a month, usually a Tues or We night, in case you’re interested!  We’d hear about Heidi’s latest God wink or better yet having one happen right there at the meeting as we plowed through the agenda.  Since stewardship is about taking care of God’s stuff on earth, I see us taking care of that and more.  We’re taking care of each other.  In fact, you don’t know it, but my Board has probably prayed for you!  It’s pretty rewarding…and I think every single person in this church should experience that.  Part of what Stewardship does is this – time & talents.  But just as pledging isn’t just about the money, time & talents isn’t just about a form.  It’s about finding or discerning your spiritual gifts and being brave enough to give them back to God.  You may not feel ‘qualified’ to serve…but the asking itself is your qualification.  I can say this with authority as I was asked to serve on Stewardship by Pastor Janisko and responded with “Great I want to get involved…what’s stewardship?”   And it took awhile but I finally got it and all the good it does in our lives.  Last year again I didn’t know if being the Stewardship chair was going to be my spiritual gift.  But ultimately I agreed, telling my husband, ‘well I’m pretty good at organizing and I won’t have to do public speaking.’  And the moral of that is you don’t know what you can do until you are asked and you give it a go.  Then -  sometimes - you just need a little faith.  This is my little FAITH that Heidi gave to me at her last meeting on Stewardship.  
It’s a XMAS ornament but I keep it in my kitchen window as a reminder to have it, to keep it, and to pass it along.  So here’s my big ASK – and if you want a personal ask, see me at coffee hour – look over this sheet, find your spiritual calling, and check the box.  Even try checking off a new one this year.  I bet you’ll be glad you did.  And if you join Stewardship, maybe you’ll be given a little FAITH too. 

God Bless…