SHARE AND SERVE!!!! – That’s the theme for our Stewardship Season, which began on October 16. On Sunday, November 13, we will make financial pledges for God’s work in the ministry of Oakhurst for 2017. During this fall, we have been focusing on Jesus’ “Fantasmic, Stupendous Healing Tour”(FSHT) in Luke chapters 5-8 in worship and in our sermons. We have noticed powerful healings of a man with leprosy, of a girl pronounced dead, of a woman with a constant flow of blood, and of a man so possessed by demons that he has lost his identity and no longer knows his name. The center of this FSHT is the generosity of God, of God’s healing and loving power flowing through Jesus of Nazareth. In Luke 5:12-16, we see the man with leprosy cry out to Jesus: “Lord, if you want to….you can make me clean.” Jesus replies: “I want to,” and he not only pronounces healing, but he reaches out across the divide and touches the man with leprosy. Here we see God’s generosity at its deepest – those pushed to the margins, those deemed as “unclean,” those whose humanity has been taken from them – are welcomed by Jesus. In this welcoming and healing, we see God’s intention and work in the world.
At the center of this activity are the words of Jesus’ Sermon on the Plain in Luke 6:27-36. In it Jesus urges his followers to live not with fear and anxiety at the center of their hearts, but rather with generosity and compassion at the center of their hearts. It is hard work for them and for us – moving from fear and anxiety to generosity and compassion is a difficult journey. Jesus centers it in Luke 6:36: “Therefore, be merciful as God is merciful.” At the heart of God is generosity, and we are asked to live our lives in this way, as difficult as that often is.
Let us keep this FSHT in mind as we think about making pledges for our 2017 budget. It is an important year, as we go through big transitions, but in this journey, let us be guided not by fear but by generosity. Let us turn our hearts towards the heart of God. Let us be generous. Let us allow God’s healing love to flow through our life together, just as Jesus allowed it to flow through him.