In the early 1930s, the brilliant and feisty Anglican mystic Evelyn Underhill wrote to Archbishop of Canterbury Cosmo Lang to remind him that “God is the interesting thing about religion, and people are hungry for God.” She felt the need to state the seemingly obvious because she noticed that clergy too often seem to forget that people come to church looking for meaningful experiences of God. Nearly a century later, her words continue to ring true, and they remind me that the work of connecting people to God is the most important thing I do as a leader. God is the interesting thing about Transfiguration, and it is our experience of God at Transfiguration that inspires and nurtures everything we do.
This weekend we kick off our month-long stewardship campaign, and over that time we’ll feature the images and stories of dozens of members who have been asked to reflect on two questions: How do you experience God at Transfiguration? How do you feel that you’re giving to God when you give to Transfiguration?
Reflections on these questions are included in the stewardship packet we hope you’ll pick up at church this weekend (we’ll mail the rest on Monday), and they will feature prominently in the conversation that will occur at all three services this weekend, as well as two weekends from now. In lieu of a sermon, I’ll talk with four parishioners about those two centering questions, to glean their insight into how their experiences of God connect with their decisions to give to Transfiguration. These folks choose to give generously to Transfiguration, because they believe that when they give to the Fig, they are actually giving to God. They have the same God-given desire to be generous that we all have, and it leads them to give sacrificially to God through the life and ministry of our beloved church.
Evelyn Underhill is right: God is the “interesting thing” about religion, and God is also the “interesting thing” about stewardship. Your financial giving makes so much important ministry possible – reverent worship, compassionate service, loving pastoral care, formative education – and both the giving and the ministry flow out of our experience of God in this church. Paying the electric bill, maintaining our buildings, covering our expenses…those are all important and necessary, but all of that takes meaning from our belief in God and our experience of God here.
So I ask you…how do you experience God at Transfiguration, and how do you feel like you’re giving to God when you give to Transfiguration?
See you this weekend.