This Sunday is Stewardship Ingathering when you have the opportunity to turn in your Pledge Cards to be consecrated and receive a blessing. In that spirit of grateful giving, I’d like to share with you this Stewardship Prayer by The Rev. Molly Phinney Baskette, Senior Pastor of First Church Berkeley UCC.
God, like little children we toddle to you, offering you a tiny gift we have bought with your money—and expecting a perfect world in return. Help us to grow up in the faith—to grow up into the faith of the widow, who gave out of her lack, knowing that letting go of all she had would challenge you to rain down blessing on her in abundance. Knowing that letting go of all she had would empty her hands to receive more. Knowing that letting go of all she had would free her mind and soul to truly love creation without owning any part of it.
God, we tithe not just our money and goods to you today, but long to tithe the more intangible things we hold onto that you demand of us.
You demand that we give up our worry and anxiety, and yet we cling to it. Help us to release the images of the six o’clock news, distorted images of violence, abuse, and abduction. Help us to release the fear we constantly live in that something terrible will happen to us or to those we love.
You demand that we give up our anger and our prejudice, so that you can defuse it and beat the swords of our minds and actions into plowshares of peaceful living, reaching out in love and acceptance to all your children: of every color, sexual orientation, age, religion—the stranger in our land and the homeless person, even to the criminal, who deserves our love and compassion.
You demand that we give up our insecurities, so that we may become people of courage and confidence who don’t sell ourselves or others short. Help us to see ourselves as you have made us, so that we are challenged to do great things for the good news of Jesus Christ—ordinary people made extraordinary by our faith and conviction. Not one of us is exempt from this call. Amen.
In Christ’s self-giving love!
Pastor Candy Thomas
Christ Congregational United Church of Christ