Annual Giving 2023 October Homily

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Gracious God, we thank you for creating and recreating us to do your good works in the world. Pour into our hearts the spirit of your abundance. Remind us that what we have is only and always for your glory, and that what we give for the work of your church is our testimony to the blessings we have already received. Guide us as we make the choices that will help build your kingdom now and in the future. And sustain us always with the promise of the gift beyond price, your presence among us. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

As part of our Annual Giving for 2024 campaign this year. Helen Spence shared the homily on October 15, 2023. See the homily via YouTube or read the entirety of the homily text. Excerpts follow …

The Isaiah reading this morning (Isaiah 25:1-9) reminds us that we who glorify God by our prayers and good works must be a strong and patient people, waiting for and rejoicing in the Lord’s abundant mercy. The 23rd Psalm, which I am pretty sure most of us can recite from memory, is the comfort of God’s love in words – a big giant verbal hug – the knowledge that God is with us always and walks with us daily.  The Apostle Paul, whatever we else say about him, knows the value of community.  He constantly thanks people, sending messages to those who have been doing the work he started.  In today’s reading, written from prison, Paul urges the Phillipians – and us – to rejoice in the Lord, reminding us that the Lord is near to us in all we do and all we are.  All of these lessons, in this season of Annual Giving, remind us that we have been called to share the love of God with our community – the one here at St. Thomas’s and the one in which St. Thomas’s is located.  We have a job to do, one to which we are called over ages of ages, and, more importantly, we do not this work alone.

Community works differently in every place, with each group of people involved, because it is the people who create the community. People who pray together, work together, socialize together, live in the Love of the Lord together – this is the bond. And the good work of God in Christ, for which we were all created is done more effectively when the work is shared.  It is done yet more effectively when we reach beyond the doors of this building and seek to love our neighbors as we love ourselves – seek to work with our neighbors as well as we work together.

October 29, 2023 – two weeks from today – we will celebrate the ingathering of our pledges. If you cannot make a pledge by that date, know that it is never too late to do so. If your circumstances change, up or down, it is never too late to change your pledge.  But please, prayerfully consider how much your gift means to all of us as we move into our 2024 budget year.  As the opening prayer states, what we give for the work of God’s church is our testimony to the blessings we have already received.  Amen.

Helen Spence
Annual Giving Ministry