Rev. Martha Jacobs
What Gifts Might We Bring?
Psalm 139 1-18, 23-24, 1 Corinthians 12: 4-11
January 7, 2018
If you were here on Christmas Eve morning or at the Candlelight Service on Christmas Eve, you heard me talk about the greatest gift we can give to each other. The gift that you can’t buy anywhere, even on Amazon. And, that gift, is the gift of love.
On Christmas, we recalled once again the arrival of the greatest freely-given gift of love from God. Given to us through parents who had nothing to offer, but love. Despite the uncertainty of what was happening in their world, they provided love for their child just as we try to do – to love our children and each other, and ourselves with the gift of love, which we need to handle with great care.
I reminded us that Jesus showed us, through his living on this earth, how we are to treat others. By his actions, he taught us to be more compassionate with each other and especially with those who are in need – those who are the least of these. That is the greatest gift we can give to others, both those we know and those we don’t know. As I remind us often, we are called to love others for who they are and all that they are.
We strive to do that here at FCC. Just before Christmas, Bill Spade brought to our attention the incredible need of a family here in Chappaqua. Interestingly, when I was mentioning this need to someone, that person said to me – “Really, in Chappaqua there is a family who has a desperate need like what you described?” They found it incredulous that in this community such a family could exist. Yes, in this very community there is a family in desperate need and because of the generous financial gifts that we have given to our Deacon’s Fund the first Sunday of each month, we were able to provide a substantial gift to help this family and other families who have been in need.
This community is amazingly generous in so many ways. For some reason, my heart keeps telling me to talk about the various gifts we have and bring to offer at our metaphorical manger here at FCC. Perhaps it is because it is Christmas and gifts are on my mind. Perhaps it is because the Nominating Committee is seeking people to bring their gifts to the various Boards and Committees of our church. Perhaps it is because next Sunday, we will welcome 3 wise ones who will share with us the gifts that they are bringing to the manger. This is their annual pilgrimage that includes stopping for a visit here at FCC on their way to or from the manger – we can never be sure – By the way – I have heard from them and they have put their camels aside to travel more easily, using Waze to guide them so that they arrive on time next Sunday.
But, aside from those gifts, and your pledges so that the work of this church can continue, there are other gifts that are not financial that we give to support the wider community. For example, we will give the gift of a warm place to sleep, hot meals and lunches to go this coming week, and again in March, as we welcome our guests from the Emergency Shelter Partnership. We will continue to welcome the Upper Westchester Muslim Society to worship here for at least another month or so, even as we bid goodbye to our friends from the Lutheran Church of Our Redeemer today.
We also have intangible gifts that we bring to our metaphorical manger – the gifts of our talents and our time, as we run this church through the Boards of Worship, Faith Formation and Trustees. Each Committee member that makes up those Boards gives gifts of time and talent to ensure that the worshipful work of our church continues. Again, you are generous beyond belief and I am overwhelmed by your generosity of Spirit.
So, I am hesitant to mention this. However, since gifts are what God has put on my heart, (so, we can all blame God!), as we prepare to ring in the new year, I would like to invite you to consider if there are other gifts you might offer to God this year. As you make your New Years’ resolutions, what might you consider doing new, or renewing, or trying something different as we seek to work together to serve our Still-speaking God. How might we continue to make a difference in our world in new ways? Is it through ensuring that our youth spend time repairing homes damaged by hurricanes instead of having fun during their winter break? Is it through volunteering to help out with ESP or the Barn Sale? Is it by taking on a leadership position in our church, bringing new energy and new ideas to the worshipful work we seek to do?
I know that many of us feel like we are stretched thin – that we can’t take on anything else. But, I would like to invite you to consider, just as you consider other New Year’s resolutions, how you can continue to or begin to support the work we seek to do together as a church family. I know that most of you are already committed to helping us continue to grow this church and to sustain our presence in this community and beyond, but I invite you to look anew and listen for what gifts God might be tugging at your heart to share with our FCC community.
Look up at the Super Moon that will appear tomorrow night – New Year’s Day night. Imagine it to be a star, shining in the East – leading you to the stable where the hope and promise and love of God dwells and ask yourself – What gift is God offering to me and what gift might I bring? – What part of myself might I offer this year, to celebrate, to honor and to respond to the unconditional gift of love that God has given to me? Let us remember that God’s gift of love to us requires that we give back by caring for others, using the variety of gifts we already have or new gifts we want to cultivate.
What gift is God offering you and what gift might you bring?