From our Gospel reading from St. Luke this Sunday:
Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord, "Look, half of my possessions, Lord, I will give to the poor; and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will pay back four times as much." Then Jesus said to him, "Today salvation has come to this house, because he too is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek out and to save the lost."
For some background, Zacchaeus was a rich man, though he was a tax collector, and so not well liked in his society. Upon hearing the amazing and irresistible message of Jesus, he fell in love with God, and was able to give freely of his money and his possessions. We will hear more about him on Sunday, but suffice it to say that Zacchaeus' life was transformed entirely by knowing the love of God and by being willing to be changed by God. "Today, salvation has come to this house," says Jesus. And it might give us pause and make us ask why. The answer is clear, though perhaps difficult for us to hear. Salvation came to Zacchaeus because in giving, he has been made whole. In giving, he has become part of something much bigger than himself. In giving so freely and generously, he has placed his trust and his being where his true identity is to be found: In the very hands of an all-loving God.
Giving of ourselves, in time, money, emotions, attention, prayer, etc, is never an easy thing. But when we give generously of ourselves, an amazing thing happens. We are transformed. We are made new. The community and world around us is also transformed and made new. And here and now at our beloved parish home, Church of the Ascension, it is our time to give generously, and to be transformed and made new.
Starting this week, the Ascension Vestry will be making phone calls to all in the parish. Their purpose is to make connections with you. To thank those who have already pledged. To remind folks that now is the time to pledge generously to the life of this parish. And to be able to answer any questions you might have about what our parish is up to. These calls can be an occasion of great connection, and even transformation as we grow stronger together as a community of Jesus Christ and his Gospel of Mercy and Love. If you have already pledged, thank you! If you have not yet pledged for 2017, please prayerfully consider what you are able to give.
Where We Are Now:
Pledges Received: 40
Dollar Amount Pledged: $116,045
For a bit of reference, a healthy budget at Ascension adds up to about $300,000 in pledges. This is the amount we need to keep our programs running strong. We are off to a great start, and I will keep you posted in the weeks to come.
Yours faithfully in Christ,