Dear Parish Family,
Once again the season of stewardship is upon us. Despite a steady increase in participation and giving, this season makes me extremely anxious. This anxiety is a direct result of the fact that I do not always find my worth in Christ alone, but in other things, such as the number of pledging units and a hopeful increase in budget (how pathetic). Theologically speaking, this is the Law at work in my life: it is not making be a better person, but rather accusing and pointing out my imperfections.
The function of the Law is to drive me to the Gospel, where I hear the Good News. Whether we see twenty-two cents or a million dollars, my value is never in my regression or progression, but in Christ and his righteousness alone. As St. Paul tells St. Timothy, these two words when rightly divided help us make sense of the Bible, the world around us, and our lives. The Law distinguished from the Gospel brings us peace, enabling us to be extremely generous with our time, talents, and treasure. This is ultimately what stewardship is about: freedom to give our all, because God in Christ has given us his all already.
This year our stewardship campaign will focus on “The Law and The Gospel.” It is my prayer that this year, as we put an emphasis on this unique but lost and misunderstood truth, you and I both will begin to know God afresh in all of his goodness and grace. I pray that you and I will once again understand that all God has demanded, he has graciously fulfilled in Jesus Christ.
My prayer this year is that these two words, Law and Gospel, rightly divided, will enable you to see your important role in our church community and to see that Calvary-St. George’s needs your financial support--not as a payback to God, but as a response to his immeasurable grace. Help us herald this Good News throughout our city and to the very ends of the earth.
“Ignorance of this distinction between Law and Gospel is one of the principal sources of the abuses which corrupted and still corrupt Christianity.” Theodore Beza
The Reverend Jacob A. Smith
Calvary/St. George's Episcopal Church
Pledge Form, 2018
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