They are like trees planted by streams of water, which yield their fruit in its season. (Psalm 1:3a)
The Psalms often compare the readers or singers to animals in search of water. In the 23rd, it’s the sheep who drink from calm waters. In the 42nd, it’s the deer, longing for God as the deer longs for the stream. But in the 1st Psalm, something is different. Here is a tree, fixed in the riverside. The roots running deep and wide, nourished by the waters of God’s mercy and love.
The imagery of the 1st Psalm is the image of life in Christian community. We do not come and go from the stream, taking only what we need, when we need it. Our roots are firmly planted, and growing deeper and stronger by the day. We not only take from the ecosystem, but we also contribute to it. We’re committed to this spot, this ecosystem - no matter the changing of the seasons.
In uncertain times and in difficult seasons, sometimes it feels as if we have every reason not to give or to send in an estimate of giving card. We are in deep debt. We aren’t sure if there’s enough for the rent or food or to keep the bills paid. Living through this continuing pandemic makes it difficult to plan for next week, let alone the future. Some people who have become part of the life of St. Paul’s UCC through our online ministries also may have been deeply hurt by churches in the past and are hesitant to support another.
How will we continue to live out God’s vision for St. Paul’s UCC in 2022 and beyond? How will we continue to be a caring community of Christ, a people of prayer and action, and a beacon of hope, justice, and peace? Do we still value the deep roots of this little congregation in Downers Grove that over the last 20 months has also been able to reach well beyond the traditional arena to have people who join in for church services from across the globe?
How will we continue to be rooted in love?
It’s true that we put our money behind the things we value. We don’t say that enough. We put our money behind the things we value. And what we value more, we’re willing to spend more to support.
Yes – the global pandemic is still with us. Yes – we continue to face uncertainty. Yes - We have had a difficult year financially. And we still are working to be the church in such uncertain, confusing, frustrating, and still hopeful times. In all times, as we are rooted in love, there are many ways to support our ministries. Our annual stewardship campaign provides a chance to think in a particular and prayerful way about the choices we make with our money in support of St. Paul’s UCC.
We hope that as you consider your giving for the coming year, you will take a step towards greater generosity in your pledge. Please use the enclosed cards to make an estimate of giving and a time and talent pledge and return them in the mail or bring them to church at one of our in-person services. You can also use our online forms on our website, stpaulsuccdg.org, using the donation page. No matter how much or how little, and no matter how you give, all pledges and gifts to our congregation help strengthen who we are and what we can do together. We are rooted in love
We’ll have a time of blessing for the returned cards on Stewardship Sunday, November 14.
We are rooted in love.
Please join us in giving as we live out God's love as St. Paul’s UCC.