Last Sunday, we sang the Prayer of St. Francis at one service and prayed along with the Chancel Choir’s beautiful rendition at the next service. Just then it occurred to me that this much-cherished prayer is a kind of stewardship prayer.
As far as Francis of Assisi is concerned, the stewardship of creation is already a given. Francis regarded the sun as our brother, the moon as our sister and the earth as our mother. What I heard this time in the prayer attributed to Francis was a call to be stewards of the Gospel:
Make us instruments of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let us sow love; where there is injury, pardon;
where there is discord, union; where there is doubt, faith;
where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy.
Grant that we may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
Stewards are caretakers of what belongs to someone else. Our high baptismal calling is to care for God’s creation and to steward the mysteries of Christ through forgiveness, generosity, compassion, and consolation. God, through Christ, is the author of self-giving love. It is our duty and delight to share these gifts with our neighbors.
Generosity Sunday is October 22nd. Giving thanks to God for all of God’s good gifts and the work of the Spirit in and through PRLC, we consider our financial pledges for 2018. As we pray about our gifts for upcoming year, it behooves us to remember that Christians are called to use money in the same way we steward all of God’s good gifts.
As we consider pledges and tithes for next year, think about the ways in which you and the PRLC community to which you belong may use money further the sacred work of love. Most of all, how might we increasingly make our regular offerings a spiritual practice where the practice of giving is in itself a blessing to behold?
For it is in “Giving that we receive …”