22 September 2019
We continue this week with our homily series entitled NF+L Sunday, Now for +he Lord. Last week we talked about the idea of healing as it relates to forgiveness. I shared a story from my youth when I got caught doing something wrong. I was worried about how much trouble I was in; my mother, being a great parent, was worried about my health and whether or not I would get sick because of what I had done. We also heard the great story from Luke’s Gospel of the son who insisted on receiving his inheritance from his father before his father died, squandered the wealth, and then returned begging for his father’s mercy. God calls us to repent of our sins, but His response is like my mother’s – His concern is for our health. He wants us to be healed. If we look at forgiveness from this perspective – that it is a healing – it is easier to ask for forgiveness, understand how God can be so generous with it, and to ultimately give it to others. That the Lord teaches and practices forgiveness in this light makes him worthy of our praise and gratitude.
This week’s Gospel reading in particular can be quite confusing. In the reading we hear about a servant who ends up cheating his master. Much to most people’s surprise, Jesus seems to compliment the servant for his actions. But what the master of the household realizes is that his servant –whom he had fired – has found a way to guarantee himself a bright future. In other words, he has been healed. Like the father in last week’s Gospel, the master rejoices with his servant. So a question for us to ponder is whether we use the gifts we have to provide for our future. Or – do we take what we can get our hands on now to experience the pleasures life has to offer today? If we think of it in today’s terms, spending is frequently encouraged by our commercial mindset, but it is savers who are ultimately rewarded. The steward in the Gospel could have simply asked those who owed his master money to give him part of what was owed and he would erase the debt. He would have walked away with a small fortune, but no friends and still no job. Instead he reduced the amount they owed his master (yes essentially cheating his master), but as the master points out, he now has friends, and based on the Master’s response, has earned his job back. Now for +he Lord- are we willing to live in such a way that allows for our future at the expense of our present pleasure?
Now for an update on our feasibility/planning study. Our meetings were well attended, with the final number being over 300 attended at one of the four identical meetings. The planning committee selected 48 households to be interviewed from among the people who attended a meeting, meant to represent a cross section of our parish. After contacting these households our consultant, Hal Johnson and Associates, is conducting confidential interviews with the 40 or so household willing and able to meet with them this week. All others who attended a meeting are being sent a survey to complete.
If you did not have an opportunity to attend one of the meetings, at an entrance to the church you may pick up the twenty-two page booklet that was prepared and reviewed at each of the meetings. This will also serve as our annual report this year. There is a lot of information contained in the report, including a summary of our financial statements. A good deal of work was spent preparing this document. Again, copies are available by the entrances to the church.
The final step for the study will be when Hal Johnson and Associates presents a comprehensive report to the parish finance and pastoral councils. This will be done on October 15. Following this meeting, the report will be made available to all parishioners who want to review it. At that time a decision will be made as to whether or not we ought to proceed with a capital campaign.