We are a few weeks away from the Parish Dinner. Dozens of people are working hard to make arrangements to host 300 of our parish for a four course French meal. A Gorgonzola and cranberry salad, french bread with herbed butter, a pork terrine with brandy, a deep, rich Beef (or vegetable) Bourguignion and a chocolate mousse set in a n edible chocolate cup with Denver cordials of dark cherry, ginger or coffee liquors. Our own Georgann Low (many know her as Bunny in our choir) will sing french songs and music from the swing era will support dancing in Dagwell Hall late into the night.
Some times it is time for a party. Sometimes it is time for a church community to stop and eat together and dance together and love on each other. We will do that. It is my favorite night of the year. I suppose my favorite night should be Christmas or Easter or Ash Wednesday or Pentecost but it is not. My favorite night of the year is when we do what Jesus did with his beloved friends that night in the upper room. We gather. We eat. We tell our story to each other. Even, we dance.
As I age in the church as a parish priest, I have found that there are two things which mark a great church community. The first is the way they welcome strangers – especially the weird, slightly crazy, deeply hurt ones. The second is the way they eat and celebrate together. We do both well which is why I am here.
We are working hard to remind our parishioners to please make they pledges. Doing so is just part of ministry – helping people to do what is right – to give a portion of what they have been given by God back to God through this church. In the end, even though it sometimes is very hard to convince people to pledge and to pledge before the Parish Dinner on November 16, the work of helping people to do the right thing is a form of ministry.
The staff of the Cathedral will, for many days, be cutting vegetables, shopping and carrying food, simmering sauces, baking bread, melting chocolate, pouring wine and lighting candles. We hope you will come on November 16th. We hope you will eat and talk and dance. We hope also that you will pledge and do so with great thanksgiving, courage and conviction. I believe our city, Denver, needs this church and indeed I believe equally that this church needs to care for this city’s poor and marginalized, rich and privileged – all.
Now. Now is the time. This day. This week. Please pledge if you have not and please talk about this subject with those you love and know at church. Do what you can and no more. Why is this the subject of a Daily Sip? Because God became vulnerable, give up his Body for us. God let humanity sucker-punch Him as a means to connect. And we, therefore are made in the image of a God who gives. And so we live out our Imago Dei (our image of God) by our giving out of bounty.
Truly, the money we raise for mission in 2017 is a side benefit. A side benefit. Truly. The real and great thing in this stewardship season of pledging is not the money we raise. It is, rather, the hearts softened and the conversion of life achieved by learning and practicing the level of gratitude which releases our fear-grip on money and lets it go to mission.
We are not greedy people. We are frightened people. Our greed is simply the way we have chosen to scream.
So be of good cheer. Know that you will be ok. Know that we need a Savior and that we have a Savior. And please, make your pledge to fund our mission in 2017. Your pledge is not a logistical act with spiritual implications. Your pledge is a spiritual act with logistical implications.