This year Stewardship Season has us looking back and looking forward.
Remembering the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s momentous nailing of his 95 points of debate on the door of the Wittenberg Cathedral on October 31, 1517, our worship this month is considering five bold theological affirmations that emerged from the Reformation about grace, faith, Christ, scripture, and the glory of God.
The hallmark of the Reformation was the idea that all people are gifted by God with skills, abilities and talents to build up God’s kingdom on earth. We affirm “the priesthood of all believers,” and identify clergy by certain roles of office but never as intermediaries between human beings and God.
As a result the Reformed church moved away from requiring practices and payments to win God’s favor. Instead we freely give of ourselves to God for all that has been given to us, including life itself. Making a pledge to the stewardship campaign is a grateful response to God’s abounding gifts to us.
All of which means looking back to these theological tenets of the Reformed tradition helps us look forward by asking: Who is God calling Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church to be? How do we live into the future as a community of faith and witness, a caring congregation known by our love for one another, and a serving congregation that reaches out to those in need in our community and world?
The answer is in this year’s theme, taken from one of our newer hymns, Gather Us In. God gathers us in and nurtures us here in this place – in order that we may reach out in Christian service. Your gifts enable us to be the church God is calling us to be.
We will receive and dedicate pledges for the coming year on Reformation Sunday, October 29. I invite you prayerfully to consider how looking back over all that God has done in your life, enables you to look forward with hope and promise, so that you may respond with your gifts to the work of God through the church in gratitude and in love.