From Pastor Esposito
From Pastor Esposito, Associate Pastor
Mark Twain has been quoted with the saying, “Speak when angry and you’ll make the best speech you’ll ever regret.” I’m not angry, but I am frustrated with myself and a trend in our society. What has me so worked up that I am not writing on the catechism this month? It’s ungratefulness and taking things for granted that is frustrating me lately. It also has me thinking of a Martin Luther quote, “Unthankfulness is theft.”
It appears that we take many things for granted in our society and we have been trained to value ourselves as individuals and the only person that matters is me. Aside from making ourselves god and breaking the first commandment we fail to realize just how little control we really have over our daily existence. It all can disappear in an instant, everything we have is a gift and should be treasured as so. It goes from big things to simple things.
Simple things like the lack of thanking folks who let you merge in in traffic, to holding doors for someone. To bigger things like taking many things for granted in life and in the life of the church. We take the over abundance of safe, clean drinking water for granted. Throughout most of history and still throughout much of the world water is not safe for consumption and most of a day’s work involves trying to find clean water and/or working to make that water potable. We are blessed to be able to walk to a few rooms in our homes, turn on a spigot and fresh, clean water comes out.
We also take the work people do for granted like the long shifts of doctors and nurses, to all the work our educators put in to find the best ways to educate people in our society. These are just two examples—I’m sure many books could be filled as many individuals and many careers put in long hours to serve our society the best that they can. And yet we neglect to take any of that into account when we find one thing to nit pick about or when we fail to uphold our end of the relationship we have with those folks. The church is no different. Everything that happens at St. Paul’s is done by people. Some are staff that get paid to do work in the congregation and carry out certain ministries.
Many ministries happen thanks to folks who volunteer their time and talent. We are blessed to have a lot of great volunteers here at St. Paul’s. God doesn’t magically dress the altar and have everything set up for each worship service—well, at least not in a fairy tale kind of way. The altar guild makes sure the right color paraments (colored cloths) hang on the altar, they make sure the right linens are on the altar, that the communion cup trays are filled with clean, new cups, that the bread and wine are out and after the service they clean it all up. Volunteers are offering musical talents in our choirs and bands, putting together the powerpoint slides for worship, teaching Bible Studies, teaching Sunday School, preparing meals for funerals and T-Cubed, leading activities, helping with Vacation Bible School, etc. Many hours of work go into the ministries at St. Paul’s. The work of the church cannot happen without you. The ELCA’s motto is, “God’s Work, Our Hands.”
Time, talent and treasure are given out of thanksgiving for all that God does for us. It is a way for us to further the kingdom of God, to share God’s love, and give thanks for all God does for us and to help others do the same. Won’t you join us for weekly worship? Won’t you actively participate in the body of Christ and in the mission we share? There is much thanks to be given, work to be done, fellowship to be shared, and more than enough of God’s love to go around. We all can give thanks to God and minister to God’s people.