Most church discussions of stewardship and money are sober and tense and almost always deadly dull. We miss the invitation to joy into which God invites us precisely at the points of our greatest resistance.
A recent conversation with Marie Jerge, Upstate New York Synod bishop, revealed the joy of Christian life most of us miss on most days. It also exposed the deep soul of what it means to be a human being, a breathing likeness of God in a world whose weary eyes ache for such beauty.
In 2003, Jerge visited the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Zimbabwe, a companion of her synod. Seeing how the synod's gifts lifted desperately poor communities transformed her vision. For one thing, "I knew we couldn't do Christmas the same way," she said.
"Our family took the money we would have spent on gifts and sent it for a village there so people could eat. We don't know how rich we are.
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