Gracious and giving God, we give you thanks. We know your love and promises, and love to tell the story about how your love and promise is true. We love to tell the story, even to those who know it best because they hunger and thirst for it like the rest. The story of You is old and new, because we are part of your on-going story. You call us and lead us, and we pray that You use us and all that You have entrusted to us to share the joy of your story with all we meet. Amen.
The congregation where I am serving is using the ageless hymn “I Love to Tell the Story” as its stewardship theme for this year of ministry. That’s why I felt inspired to use some of those lyrics to create this prayer for following the offering (or “gathering of gifts”) in worship.
I am just starting to think about the ways and depth that this hymn creates possibilities related to stewardship. There are opportunities for people to share and tell their own story. There is opportunity to remember to give thanks, and to deeply reflect on why we are thankful. And, this allows for a recognition and understanding that we ourselves are part of God’s on-going story.
In thinking about all of this, and wrestling with the possibilities and implications, a few insights come to mind.
1) God has a story, and we are part of it.
God’s story wasn’t just something that happened thousands of years ago. God didn’t stop having something to say when the canon of scriptures we know as the Bible was put together. God continues to call and create, desiring to be in relationship with us.
2) We are created and loved and have capacity.
Not only does God want to be in relationship with God’s creation, God loves us and all of God’s creation. Part of this love I believe is seen through the way God enables us with gifts, strengths and passions. These help show our capacity of what’s possible recognizing them and that what we have been entrusted with (gifts, strengths, passions, possessions, etc.) we have the ability to use.
3) Part of our capacity is the joy and freedom to use that capacity to give, serve and live.
In knowing the promises of God, we respond to the good news of the Gospel in the only way we can, with joy and gratitude. What can we do in response to the good news, but want to share that story and to serve and love our neighbor as God has loved us?
Putting this altogether, what does this look like for a faith community or congregation? What might it look like to create space in worship and other expressions and ministries of your community for people to think about how they are created with gifts, vocations, and that which they have been entrusted with, as an understanding of stewardship?