Weekly thoughts from the Rector of Palmer Memorial Episcopal Church in Houston, Texas, where these words remind us that Jesus’ peace goes with us into the world.
Today is Covenant Sunday, when Palmers are invited not only to worship together but also to bring their completed pledge forms with them — a spiritual practice that indicates their financial commitment to this church for the next calendar year. In the pew racks are giving cards for 2017 that can also be used to make a commitment by those who are not on our mailing list or who might have forgotten to bring their pledge form with them. There will be an opportunity in our combined liturgy this morning at 10:00 a.m. to carry those pledge forms and giving cards to the altar to be blessed as part of our offering to the Lord. Whether your household is comprised of one, two, or many, it is a humbling experience to walk with others while holding in our hands this symbolic-yet-concrete acknowledgement that our life is a divine gift.
Together we worship. Together we learn, grow, pray, eat, share, laugh, cry, play, and love. And . . . yes . . . together we give in thanksgiving for that gift of life, returning to God a generous proportion of our blessings to make a real difference in the lives of people within and beyond these walls.
If you’re a guest with us today, perhaps visiting us for the first time or friends with people in our community of faith or just someone who is curious about Jesus, do not be anxious about watching those around you make this commitment. If you belong to another church, allow yourself to be inspired to make a similar commitment to that community of faith. If you’ve never given back to the Lord out of your blessings, consider what it would be like to participate in something larger than your own needs, something that is rooted in love and that reaches into the world around you.
Lastly, guests, friends, and members of Palmer are all invited to stay after worship for a fun celebration that includes a cookout in the courtyard and live music on the lawn. I promise no pledge form is required to join that fun. Just bring yourself!
— The Rev. Neil Alan Willard, Rector