This year a virus has enveloped our community, our nation, and our world, leaving many ill, unemployed, bereaved; closing businesses, silencing singing, muting celebrations. The familiar foundations of routine and normalcy have been shaken. We now know what has always been true, though perhaps often escaped our awareness: we are not invincible. In the face of that awareness we long not so much for easy fixes as for deep assurance; not for simple answers, but for a clear sense that God will provide. We do not really seek magic potions to cure all our ills; we yearn for something far more substantial, far more cherished: hope.
Hope is the gift God gives to us, and we to one another, that allows us to imagine a better day and work for a better world. Without hope, no other resource matters; no other efforts are credible; no other plan finally makes any sense. With hope, however, all things become possible.
Hope gives us eyes to see not only the many signs of disruption and disorientation, but also those of compassion and courage. In a Covid-19 year, Laurel Heights has been a community of faith in which such signs abound, and through which practices of love and welcome, prayer and worship are shared with the wider world.
During the month of October we will reflect together about financial generosity as one of those faith practices — that is, as an expression of hope. Our Stewardship Committee, with Susie Guven as chair, has been active for several weeks preparing for this time of reflection, commitment, and celebration.
The prayer of Jesus—what we know as the Lord’s Prayer—envisions the realm of God making its way into our history: Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as in heaven. The prayer we pray week to week, month by month, year after year has its basis in a deep assurance that God is by no means through with our world. The Lord’s Prayer is an offering of hope. To offer our financial gifts week to week, month by month, year after year, is to extend that prayer into practice, into life, into reality. Thanks be to God.
Grace and peace.