Do good, and share with others, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.”
In the seventeenth century, John Donne, the Dean of St. Paul’s Cathedral in London wrote: “The church is universal, so are all of her actions; all that she does belong to all. When she baptizes a child that action concerns me; for that child is thereby connected to the body whereof I am a member. . . no man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a part of the main.”
The theme of this year’s fall stewardship campaign for me echoes the deeply moving words of John Donne. Our theme is I’m all in. Come join me!
As members of St. Theodore’s we are all connected to one another, our diocese, our national church, to all Christians, and to all humanity that need us to live day by day as the baptized committed to make a difference in the lives of one and all. To be baptized has always included living each and every day in thanksgiving to God because we have been “sealed and marked as Christ’s own forever.” We are committed to using our God given talents, time and treasure in the cause of Christ.
I don’t know exactly when making a commitment to be a part of a church and exercising our ministries through the Body of Christ became a Sunday morning option and not a moral obligation. However, I can vividly remember on the Fall Stewardship Sunday everyone filled out their pledge card and everyone made a contribution because it was the right thing to do. I can remember that every year the rector preached about the wisdom of the Old and New Testament to call everyone to give not a specific dollar amount but a percentage of their income. That would be the just thing to do. No matter your financial circumstances, your percentage would be the leveler. A pledge of 10% to a lower income bracket family would be different in dollars than to an upper income family in dollars but not in percent. Anyone – anyone − could therefore be all in. No one needed to be left out. The goal of those campaigns of 100% of the membership making a pledge was met year after year. They were all in and really didn’t need to be asked. It was a given.
There is a true story about a man, Willie Six, who was the athletic trainer at the University of the South during the glory years from 1907-1947. At his retirement dinner a reporter asked him which athletic teams were the best of all time. It is said he replied: “Next year’s teams will always be the best because it will be their day to shine bright with the Sewanee spirit.
This is our year to shine bright with the spirit of our baptism. This is our year to be all in with our commitment to do good, and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased