Guided by the lectionary, the sermons yesterday (based on 2 Corinthians 8:7-15) focused on stewardship. Rev. Cattenhead and I checked, you are allowed to preach on stewardship on Sundays outside of October. As with Paul's plea to the Corinthians, so it is with every church on every Sunday - the opportunities to return God's tithes and to sacrifice for the benefit of others can't be relegated to a "season." Jesus' sacrifice for us is beneficial every day. Our call to follow him as his disciples continues every day. How we share from the abundance we have been given matters every day.
I was struck by Derrick's insight about the far-reaching consequences of people being deprived of their most basic needs. Not only are there real physical, mental, and emotional consequences, they are also further deprived of the energy, time, and opportunity to fully use their gifts for Jesus. The Body of Christ suffers because members of it are suffering. Whenever a member of Christ's body is starving, the rest of the body isn't as healthy as it could be - you can't starve a leg and feed an arm and celebrate the health of the body.
This is true of the Body of Christ and it's important to consider as a nation. We're celebrating our nation this week and reflecting on all the sacrifices that have gone into and continue to go into helping us be the best that we can be together. To be "one nation under God" requires that we give attention to growing together as a nation. A help in that direction is to serve alongside one another, seeing each other as more than a caricature of a political party or a demographic category. The Church should be a leader in this.
I thank God that we're a church that's trying. We help one another. We help our neighbors in the community. We will return to Winnsboro in a couple of weeks to help those neighbors through Salkehatchie. We're off to Costa Rica the following week to help those neighbors.
It's part of being church and we're all invited to participate. The Bread Brigade will be hosting a 4th of July party for the homeless in our community on Wednesday, they'd welcome you for that gift to the often-neglected. The blood drive on July 10 is a way to give the gift of life to our neighbors. Please sign up to give. Monetary contributions to Salkehatchie and Costa Rica are welcome, as are child-friendly backpacks for the Costa Rica mission. And, there will be more opportunities to give to other ministries in the months to come. The requests won't end until the needs do because Jesus' call to love our neighbors is expansive and eternal. It's part of our stewardship, whatever the time of year. Thank you for answering the call.