Stewardship of Creation
A Message from the Interim Rector:
We enter the stewardship season for our church when every member will be asked the question –“How can we help you be a good steward of what God is giving you?”
Unfortunately, we often limit this question to “How much are you going to pledge to St Paul’s for 2021?” As we celebrate the life and legacy of St Francis of Assisi this weekend (manifested in the blessing of the animals at 9 AM on Sunday) we are connected to a bigger vision of what it means to be a good steward. So, how can St. Paul’s help you be a good steward of what God is giving you?
- We delight God when we are mindful that we are created in God’s image and are connected to that eternal energy (Holy Spirit) forever. Practicing GRATITUDE and mindfulness through prayer, meditation, singing in the shower and laughter are all manifestations of our belonging under God’s protection and nurture. Francis understood this and in following Jesus Christ, he had a human prototype to model his life around. Life becomes filled with moments of JOYFUL GENEROSITY. Worshiping God together in person or virtually online can help us observe this commandment.
Loving my neighbor
- We are part of the human species and our health and thriving depends on social and political co-existence and inter-dependence. No man is an island. We organize and support each other in the church (meaning assembly or gathering) so our interactions in church model the kind of world we are called to re-imagine. Diversity, forgiveness, sharing, pastoral support, giving to others outside of our church are all practices that demonstrate our Baptismal Covenant. We need to attend church regularly, or watch online, learn more about each other and our faith tradition ad Episcopalians and be engaged in repairing God’s world through sacrificial outreach. Our families, city, nation,and world are blest when we take our place that only we can do for God. Each one of us has a unique contribution to the web of creation. How might I do that in the coming year.
- Be responsible in the pandemic by wearing masks, social distancing and washing hands regularly.
- For older adults, get a flu shot, a shingles shot and stay away from others if you feel sick.
- Support local businesses and employers (if we have the means to spend our God-given wealth) at this critical moment in our nation’s economic depression. Buy a couple of extra groceries for Shop and Drop and keep in touch with the vulnerable, especially our senior community who have been isolated for most of this year.
- Take your American citizenry seriously by voting in the November election and pray for our government and country.
- What could the St. Paul’s community do to make an impact on climate change by saving energy, using less plastic, and supporting green industries through our advocacy and investments.
- What small or bolder large initiatives could St. Paul’s engage in, to heal the racial and social inequality in our local community as we begin a new chapter in our 160-year history?
- Give generously to the 2021 Pledge campaign and ensure TOGETHER we put our best foot forward to attract the best candidates as our new rector.
- Practice 1 and 2 above.
- Maintain a healthy diet and limit alcohol consumption to no more than 6 units per week.
- Design or maintain a sustainable exercise regimen knowing we may be unable to go to the gyms or take part in social exercise activities this Fall-walking, swimming and gym work at home may be better alternatives.
- Maintain mental and spiritual health through regular practices to reduce anxiety and depression.
- Maintain healthy relationships that satisfy our physical, sexual, emotional needs knowing so many of us are under stress as parents, spouses, and single people.
- Try not to plan too far ahead, given there is so much uncertainty about the impact of Covid but look to shorter timelines, achievable goals and give yourself some rewards and treats. You really do deserve it!
- Take a deep breath and know you are doing the best you can right now –“God isn’t finished with us yet”.
- Reach out to the people you may have forgotten about because we have ben so busy or pre-occupied. If someone comes into your mind, call them, and re-connect. Make time for longer phone and zoom conversations. We will be personally nurtured from those older deeper friendships and family connections that we may have been too busy in the past to attend to.
- Do not be afraid or too proud to reach out and ask for help if you feel overwhelmed. People love and care for you more than you know.
We will be reflecting on the ancient Jewish image of the vineyard in our readings this Sunday. How do we care for this vineyard that is growing within each one of us, the vineyard that is St Paul’s, our nation, and the world? Stewardship is much larger than pledging as we are discovering. God wants us to be generous and joyful, faithful, and thriving. Over the next few weeks, let us help one another to do this. As this journey begins, please listen to George McNeely and Janice Fiore on Sunday at 10 a.m. as part of our Clergy Conversations online series.
Rev. Canon Albert Ogle