Begin with hymn 595 - “Jesus Loves Me!”
When I was in college taking a class on Biblical Commentary the professor told the story of a famous theologian whose name is lost to my memory now. The professor said that when this famous theologian was asked what was the most important piece of Biblical commentary ever written, the theologian said the song Jesus Loves Me! This theologian had written volume upon volume of complex biblical commentary, thousands and thousands of pages of reflection on Christianity, so perhaps the answer of a simple song most often taught to and sung by children was meant to shock. But it is also an answer that was deceptively and elegantly full of truth. How profound and important it is to know that the word made flesh, God incarnate on Earth, Jesus Christ, loves us and provided for us a written record of his love called the Bible.
And today on Christ the King Sunday when we celebrate Jesus as King of Kings and the Lord of Lords, we know that we are truly loved by the King of all creation and that we gathered here, those who believe in him have been made the stewards of his Kingdom. And what does it mean to be a steward? I confess the term always invokes for me agrarian imagery. Vast land holdings, animals, and fields all of which need looking after. Crops that need to be planted and minded and harvested. Years will pass and we stewards will mind the earthly rhythms of the land and ensure that this property that what we have been entrusted with stays vital and productive. But here at SOV in this corner of God’s kingdom that we have been put in charge of, where are our fields to tend, our crops to sew and harvest, our fences and pathways to mend and to clear? Is it the good repair of this sanctuary? Our outreach in education programs to our local community? Is it the preschool program providing a Christian foundation for dozens of children every year? Is it preparing blankets for those who are cold, cleaning up our surrounding neighborhoods, feeding those who are hungry? Is it ensuring that SOV is a place where each Sunday all may come and gather to hear the word of God being read from his love letter called the Bible so that we may all share in the good news of Jesus Christ.
I think it is all of those things and most likely a few we haven’t even discovered yet. But stewardship and being a steward is a fascinating role because it is not just about the now; it also about the always. We are stewards of God’s kingdom not for ourselves alone in this time but we work to ensure this kingdom for which we care, this little corner of God’s kingdom, is here for those who will come after us, those who we do not know and will never meet but who are our brother’s and sisters in Christ and who themselves shall be stewards of this same place in the future, provided we do our work in the present day. So when we reflect on the year to come on this last day of the liturgical calendar and we consider our time, our treasure, and our talents and how we shall use them to steward SOV? As we return our little white pledge cards we may do well to consider if we have thought of both the now and of the always.
So these are the thoughts that I share with you and that I and my family must consider as other imperfect stewards among you: What is it we can do, what is it we can give, to ensure that that the work of God’s Kingdom is happening today, tomorrow, and years and years from now? Do the plans we have made and the gifts we have provided help ensure that the work of the Kingdom of God will be present in this place and do our plans reflect to the world the love of Jesus Christ who loves us and through the Bible told us so.
I wish you all a wonderful Sunday and a fabulous Thanksgiving in the week to come, and I know that as we together, gathered here, consider our roles as stewards of SOV and of God’s Kingdom that God shall use our gifts to greater purposes that even we can imagine. Thank you.