I love autumn.
The leaves. The pumpkins. The apples. The sweaters.
The colors are richer, deeper. The weather shifts and buckles, going from hot to cold within the span of one day. It’s as if the earth is sharing the last of its delights, hosting a final banquet before cocooning itself for the winter.
In autumn we begin bundling ourselves against the coming cold. We bring together our bounty, everything we’ve harvested over the year, and we count our many blessings.
For me, my blessings start and end with family. But not just my wife and children and other relatives. My church family.
The ChristCare group that helps keep me centered. The members of Theology Reading Group who help me to continually stretch and enhance my faith. The Heritage Lecture Committee, where I get to assist in bringing challenging and thoughtful speakers to our congregation. The smiling faces that greet me every Sunday morning.
My blessings extend in a myriad of other ways, too. I’m thankful for the Sunday school teachers and shepherds who share God’s love with my children. The meals we share in our amazing fellowship hall. The gifts of God that shine forth into our community in the form of missions and outreach.
This is a church that’s rich in talent, deep in expressing God’s love, extreme in the lengths it will go to help its members, its community, its world.
This is my church. And my heart belongs here.
Autumn is stewardship season, a time to remind us that this church cannot exist through love alone. This church lives only because talented people share their time, their gifts and their resources to further the kingdom of God.
Every year, we fill out a pledge card. Every year, we join our church family in the communal act of placing our envelope on the table. And this year, our daughter will make her first pledge. She’s only 7, but she already gives a part of her weekly allowance to help thank God for the many gifts this church has given us. And this year she’s going to walk with us to the table.
We will add our envelopes to the harvest. We will join in giving thanks for this church -- in giving thanks to God -- for all that we receive. And our hearts will be warm and full.