Tuesday, November 18, 2014

More to Stewardship Than We Can Imagine

We’ve done just about all we can in preparation for our voyage, the journey into the future God is calling us to explore.  Many of you who pledged in previous years have said your prayers and made your commitment to supporting God’s mission in and from the Church of the Advent.  Just as prayerfully several commitments have come from families who have not pledged in the past.  
All of this is good news to which we respond “Thanks be to God!”  Yet, one of the risks we take in putting so much focus on this part of the process is that we forget to support each other in continuing in the larger part of stewardship.
Here’s what I’m thinking: Imagine what it would take for you to go without your cell phone for 24 hours. Call it a “cell phone Sabbath.” 
Take a breath. I’m not saying anything bad about those of us who seem to be on our phones all the time.  I am saying that in order for us to consider “continuing in the larger part of stewardship” it may require as much planning and advance work as a pledge campaign. 
The difference is that the intent of this effort is not just a relatively brief, once-a-year campaign closed by our signatures but the establishment of a habit or pattern of behavior shared by a community.
  • First you would have to find the time -- 24 hours -- to be away from your electronic “friend(s).”  
  • Then you’d have to choose between those friends and family who could join you and those you’d warn, in some cases multiple times beginning several weeks in advance.  
  • Then you’d have to get someone to protect you from intrusion or interruption during your Sabbath.  
  • It would probably help to have some ceremony to begin your retreat 
  • and certainly you’d want some ritual during your time as a way to sustain yourself and get through the hours.  
  • All of this would be done so that you can be open to a set of possibilities larger than those bound up in the web of emails, calls, and messages.  All this for one day. 

Now, breathe again. Imagine what it would take for that one cell phone Sabbath to become a pattern or habit. See what I mean about all the work required in “continuing the larger part of stewardship?”
So thanks be to God that we have come this far and done this much. Let’s pray that we continue with God into a future that will likely require even more work to sustain for the sake of our imagination.

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