Episcopal Diocese of Virginia
The Episcopal Church »  |  The Diocese of Virginia

From the Rector's Desk

8/3/2017

From the Rector’s Desk     

There is a game I come across occasionally that invites the player to guess if the phrase is from the Holy Bible or from Shakespeare.  Here is one example:  “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”  Before reading on can you determine from where this line comes?  Maybe this is easy for you, or challenging.  Do you know?  Read onward!

Actually this question was easy for me because it comes from my favorite book of the Bible, specifically The Acts of the Apostles Chapter 20, verse 35b.  This quote comes at the tail end of a chapter in Acts where the Apostle Paul is leaving the church he founded in Ephesus.  As Paul bids farewell to the church leaders, he mentions their strengths as well as their challenges and then he offers wisdom so that amidst any challenges they can remain focused on their purpose as a worshipping community.  Thus he reminds them that giving is preferable to receiving.

Also, in one of his letters the Apostle writes “God loves a joyful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7b).  I find this statement to be true; giving makes me joyful.  As I shared a few months ago Marie and I, using a well-known Christian based program, began a monthly budget which allows us to pay off debt without amassing more, and still providing for everything we need.  The standard budget form from our program has, as the first line, our giving to the church.  Except for automatic withdrawals, our pledge payment to this parish is the first check of the week/month that we write. Marie and I understand that the cheerful giver does not give to God from our leftovers, but from the icing off of the top of what we earn.

Giving continues to give me joy.  Recently I purchased a case load of Bibles (CEB version) which I began giving out to the parish leadership and others.  If you did not get one, and want one, just ask!  I want you to have one.  Reading through The Holy Bible every year provides me new insight, and also allows me to experience how God is working in and around my life.   Whether it takes you one year, or five, I encourage everyone to read through it.  It is okay to bring the strange or challenging questions to me.  I also encourage people to share the miracles that they witness where God appears in one’s daily reading, as if God placed a post it right there on the page and said “this is for you!” 

What I take from the Bible are core reminders – to love (God, neighbor, and self), and to give joyfully.  As all of you enjoy the final month of summer I hope you will consider ways where God is inviting you to joyfully give.  The fall will provide ample opportunities.  For instance our still developing Children & Youth Programs, including Sunday Children’s Church, require the involvement of parishioners volunteering for probably less than one Sunday per month.  In October we will prayerfully discern our financial pledges for 2018 where I hope to share and show how the practice of giving joyfully through our financial treasure not only benefits all of us in the church, but also opens up space around the giver for God to work in unimagined, miraculous ways.  In early 2018 there will be also ample time for you to consider if God is calling you to serve and represent this parish as a member of our Vestry.  These suggestions should not make you cringe, but fill you with the embers of joy as you discern how and where God calls you to give throughout our parish. 

Finally, if you are traveling this summer, be safe and bring me back a bulletin so I can learn about the churches you visit.  If you are in town, then come see us at 7:30am or 10am on Sundays.  Most of all, I invite you to come and receive a Bible from me, and discover the positive impact in your life when you remain connected to God’s Word each and every day.

Yours in Christ,

 Fr. Peter 


2/9/2017
Subscribe to the newsletter (The E-pislte)
« previous
8/17/2017
The E-pistle
next »