Meanwhile Saul continued to breathe murderous threats against the disciples of Jesus. He had gone up to the high priest and asked for letters, addressed to the synagogues in Damascus, that would authorize him to arrest and take to Jerusalem any followers of the Way that he could find, both women and men. Acts 9:1-2
In this month of Thanksgiving and harvest gathering, we take time to consider how we will use our resources to equip the church in the year ahead. On Sunday, November 17 we will gather our pledges of commitment for 2020. On Thanksgiving Sunday, November 24 after worship and our Thanksgiving luncheon we will decide on Grace's Statement of Mission (budget) for the coming year. This year's Stewardship Theme is The Way. The early church was known as The Way, because disciples sought to follow the way of Jesus the Christ. The following is an article from our national church.
Caretakers of the Way
Humans leave traces of connection. The British naturalist Robert MacFarlane has written "that once you begin to notice them, you see that the landscape is still webbed with paths and footpaths .... Pilgrim paths, green roads, drove roads, corpse roads, trods, leys, dykes, drongs, sarns, snickets -say the names of paths out loud and at speed and they become a poem or rite - holloways, bostles, shutes, driftways, lichways, ridings, alterpaths, cartways, carneys, causeways, herepaths." Robert MacFarlane, The Old Ways, p. 13
Faith too is a path of connection but unless the way is practiced it disappears. Stewardship is the practice that generates and regenerates the path of faith.
Stewardship is less about sharpening our pencils and more about sharpening our tools for trail maintenance, equipping ourselves to be caretakers of the path connecting us to our Creator and guiding our steps.
Robert MacFarlane reports that in the 19th century small sickles were hung on stiles or posts where paths connecting communities began. Walkers would pick up the sickle or hook to lop off branches as they walked. They would then leave the 'hook' on the stile or post at the end of the path so a walker going in the opposite direction could do the same. This shared caretaking of the path benefited each individual walker but also the larger community.
The early Christian movement was known internally as well as to its persecutors as the way (Acts 9). The life of faith is a way of being human, a way of interpreting, a way of practicing, a way of living.
As we journey towards the reign of God, we are following in the tracks of others, ways walked by Jesus himself, paths as ancient as Abraham and Sarah. Today we are not just signposts pointing the way but the caretakers, the stewards of that way. Come and join in the way.
I give thanks to God that I can be with each of you on The Way. Yours in Christ, Pastor David