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Stewardship Reflection – Judy Govatos

The world does work in mysterious ways. The January 6 service was entitled Coffin and Cradle. I didn’t know the service title when I agreed to do the Stewardship moment several months ago. I received an email from Nancy Pinson inviting me to write the stewardship moment. I was in the middle of a six-month course of chemo to treat a recurrence of cancer. I was not in good shape, and I wasn’t sure when I would be in good shape. But I was sure I wanted to be here with you to talk about Stewardship.
So, here I am in remission, in good enough shape to talk about why I love this church and why giving and supporting the church is not just about coming to church, serving on committees and writing checks. Each of these and so many other activities in the church are vital acts of worship; really what the church is all about.
Blackwater Woods, the poem, we just heard is in itself a work of worship. Mary (in my heart we are on a first name basis) is telling us what is true and worthy, beautiful and painful in life. That salvation is the other side of loss.
Mary tells us that there are three things we need to learn in life: to love deeply, to hold on for dear life and to let go when it is time to let go. These words became mymantra as I grieved the loss of my daughter.
The problem is Mary doesn’t tell us how to do these things. We come to church for that. We create worship to learn these life lessons.
I have worshipped in this church in countless ways. I have named my children in this church, and we blessed my daughter’s coffin almost 15 years ago. Cradle to Coffin and everything in between. Most of my dearest friends are members of this church. Friendship, the deep knowing and witnessing life with another person, is an act of worship.
Even transportation can be an act of worship. How is transportation an act of worship you may ask. When members of this church drove me back and forth to my monthly chemo treatments, those weren’t just rides in a car. You were telling me that I was important to you. That I was worthy of your kindness and attention even when I was feeling scared, vulnerable and very nearly broken. I call that worship and a kind of salvation.
You and this church have taught me that working for Social Justice is an act of worship. Sometimes, as Mary says, we experience the black river of loss as we fight injustice. But when we come together and stand for the worth and dignity of all people, for compassion, for all of our precious principles and practices, we are creating worship in this world and the salvation we all long for.
So, as you are thinking about giving money to the church, don’t confine your thoughts to dollars and decimal points. Don’t think just in terms of cost. Please, think in terms of worth and worship. Open your mind. Add up the real value of this church from cradle to coffin, counted out in every day acts of worship and salvation and don’t forget the transportation.