Good morning, kindred! Pax et Bonum – Peace and all good. I had the good fortune to see Paul [Dean Gaston] early this week and he shared the Gospel lesson for today. It is about five words — love God, love your neighbor. I reflected all week on how it embodied for Christians. What came to mind was a bag of toilet paper rolls.
Let me tell you a little story about toilet paper rolls. Many years ago, my husband asked my mother to please collect her empty toilet paper rolls because that’s how he starts the seeds for his garden every year. It’s a large operation in the basement, and even a larger one in the backyard. I’m blessed that I’m 60 and both my parents are still living. I’m also blessed that my good and kind husband says every month, “Go home for four days and see them. I’ll take care of the dog, the house, and the rather ferocious 11 year old.”
I go home every month and when I leave, on the dining room table next to my suitcases, is a bag of toilet paper rolls because my mother quietly, in good times and in bad, and in health and in struggles, when she’s cooking or not for all her grandchildren and children, always remembers to collect the toilet paper rolls for Al.
Love God, love your neighbor. We do that here in Trinity. We embody that. We start from the book, from the table and from the communion between ourselves here, and between ourselves and all the saints who preceded us for 200 years. That is where our ability to love God and love our neighbor, in time and in space, comes from.
This year, we have more work [on stewardship] than we did at the same point in the year last year — to collect what we need, to let our gifts multiply for all that we do. I am not anxious. None of us is anxious because we know that the table, the book and the communion between all of us brings us together, and will give us what we need to grow this garden.
Love God, love your neighbor, and so let me tell you how to embody it today.
One of my very favorite verbs from the Pauline letters is “exhort.” Now I exhort you, kindred, to take the next few moments of silence to look in your hearts. Raise your pledge if you want to. Scribble it out. Make a pledge if you’re so moved. Scribble it out. We’re going to sit in silence for a few minutes. Kay [Rev. Kay Rackley] will break the silence for us, and we’ll celebrate what we’ve heard from the book at the table.
Tony Wesley joined Trinity in 2013. He has been part of Trinity’s stewardship [annual giving] team since 2014, chairing in 2015 and co-chairing in 2016. He believes that pledging and giving are spiritual and that gifts multiply, especially when used “to proclaim in word and action God’s justice, love and mercy for all creation.” Below are his comments on Commitment Sunday, October 29, when he exhorted all of us to “love God, love our neighbor” by pledging to prepare for 2018 and our new dean.