“Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul.”
There is no better greeting that I can offer you than the one that John the Elder wrote somewhere around 86 AD in his 3rd Letter in the New Testament. This John – who many believe is John the Apostle, the youngest Disciple, brother of James – was asking Gaius, a leader in an outpost of the early church, to offer hospitality to some “traveling brothers” who were wandering likely without money, bringing the Gospel to the world.
The words of this greeting seem so natural, and today, even commonplace. As in those days, these words express the concerns we feel for now for so many in our lives. In my world, the words could be lifted without alteration from many conversations I have each day. But here, one word stands out that I don’t often use.
“Beloved.” What does the word mean? Gaius is not just beloved – adjective – he is “a” Beloved. He is a member of a community that is drawn together through a shared faith in Jesus Christ, himself the Beloved son of God. Love is the currency of faith and strengthening our ability to love – and accept being loved – by God and by each other – to recognize that we are Beloved – is what Stewardship is asking you to consider this year. Beloved.
How does this relate to Stewardship? In the coming weeks, the Board will reach out to you through messaging, participation in virtual Board events and perhaps, one day, face to face meetings to explore this theme. We hope that faithful reflection on our Beloved community even in this time of isolation will help us sustain our strong Stewardship pledging from last year, which continues to be fulfilled.
As in prior years, we are fully committed to a philosophy of Faith-based giving, based on individual and family reflection, and seek as much participation from as much of the Congregation as possible, regardless of amount. We hope that this year we can reach a goal of 150 pledges.
But we’ll talk about these goals later. For now, I am personally grateful I am surrounded by this Beloved community and hope you are as well.
“Beloved, may all go well with you, may you be in good health, and all hope that it goes well with your soul.”