I am looking forward to catching up with you this Sunday morning! While I know many of you will be on vacation or attending prior engagements, I’m hoping the vast majority of you will be in worship Sunday. Returning to the office last week was pure joy. I can’t describe the sense of delight and relief I felt seeing my desk, my chair, my books, my ‘stack of things to do,’ and of course, my coworkers. In the same way, I’m excited to walk back into the sanctuary, hear the organ, watch the acolytes, step onto the platform, and look into your faces. I’ll spend part of the sermon thanking you for your care, sharing stories from the past eight weeks, and of course, speaking a word of encouragement. After the service, I’m looking forward to hugs and handshakes and hearing your stories in the narthex. I can’t wait to catch up.
All of our greetings Sunday morning will be a personal catch up. We also need to address a practical catch up. During my recovery hiatus, I strictly followed my doctor’s orders. I did not work. I did not receive emails from work. I did not receive committee reports or pastoral care updates or financial charts. Upon returning to the office this morning, all of this data was delivered. I’m beginning to make some pastoral calls to those who’ve been in crisis the last two months. I’ve browsed the committee reports and gotten caught up on calendared events. I’ve perused our financial reports… and I can’t fix this one by myself. I would like this Sunday, August 1, to be our Offering Catch Up Sunday. Several years ago, during the season of Lent, we received more than $400,000 in capital campaign gifts in just 40 days. I’d like to see the same miraculous generosity this Sunday. If you are behind on your tithes and offerings for the year—catch up. If you are on track with your commitments to the church, then dig into blessings you’ve received and give an extra gift above and beyond what you had intended. (In the Levitical tradition, it could be a ‘Thank Offering’ for my recovery or for any positive event you’ve experienced in your life. I’ll be giving a ‘Thank Offering!’) I would love to see an overwhelming display of generosity Sunday as a testimony of God’s goodness and our determination to rebuild and enhance the church’s work as we move into the Fall. I’m looking forward to catching up this Sunday—personally and practically. I’ll see you in worship.
—Jim

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