October -- 2021
As October commences and, along with it, our month of concentrated stewardship, I find myself grateful to Gene Bennington who has agreed to lead our efforts this year and to be our Preacher on October 3. He wears a coat of many colors in the countless ways he cares for our neighbors. I am also grateful for the leadership of Jim Adams who has led us in the past so capably to connect our time, talent, and treasure as vital parts of God’s economy. I am also thankful that he is very willing to do computer spreadsheet work to keep us on track and take some of the work off the shoulders of Gene.
Thank you both. I offer you an article I wrote for the newsletter sixteen years ago. It still speaks to me and I hope it will speak to you as well.
It is the month of October, my month of thanksgiving, the month I reflect on all my blessings, the month I ponder on what I will give back to God out of gifts of holy abundance.
Lord Jesus, before I was born You knew my inmost thoughts. And when I came out of the womb, Your arms carried me into the world. As I cried, as I cooed, as I lay wide-eyed and speechless, You held my hand. You held my hand until I took it away and let go of Yours. As I grew, You fed me with sights and sounds too wonderful for words: innocence, dreams, imagination, and exploration. Like a sentinel, You remained steadfast even when I found others more important, both people and things. You said, “Yes,” You said, “No,” and You gave me the freedom to choose.
Blessed Jesus, when I left childhood, You walked me into adolescence. When I lost my dad, I could talk to You when I could no longer talk to him. When I felt uncomfortable in my body, I was comfortable in Your presence. When I felt unacceptable to my peers, I knew I was acceptable to You. When I failed and felt shame, You held me close. You held me close and told me I was worthy. In all this goodness, I often ignored You. Since I have become an adult, I have known new pain and new joy. And You have held my hand through it all: miscarriage and birth, death and new life, darkness and light, despair and hope. When my faith was small, You touched me and made it large.
Lord Jesus, as I think about thanksgiving, about the countless ways You’ve healed me, I can look with hope and gratitude into the future. And I can remember the past as sacred interlace. It is there—in the past—that Your intersecting with me has become transparent.
Lead me, Christ, my brother, my Lord, to softly turn inward, to cradle Your living inside of me as You have cradled me since the womb. I have felt Your warmth in the sunlight, Your power in the wind and the waves, Your strength in the compassion of others, Your resurrected life in moments of deep joy.
I have seen your work in the canvas of an artist, in the voice of a prophet, in hands wringing for justice, in the gentle actions of a neighbor, in moments of thin air where heaven is so close that the air I breathe is Your breath exhaled.
You know me, Jesus. I do not have to pretend.
In the silence of Your love, I bring You gifts, gifts of my time, talent, and treasure, gifts dedicated to this truth: that no child of Yours will ever hear these words, “there’s no room in the inn.”
In faith, Nance