Dear Calvary family,
Did you glance at the sanctuary last month? It looked like a NASA launch site! It’s no surprise that such elaborate scaffolding is required to reach the ceiling and walls for crucial repairs, but it’s still startling.
The project phases of repair and restoration, along with the continued pandemic, have summoned us to a new understanding of sacred spaces. We have learned that it is God alone who makes a space sacred. A landmark sanctuary, a church basement, a computer desk in someone’s home, a tiny food cupboard on an outside wall – these are all sacred when Christ’s followers gather in His name. For our part, we honor our legacy by preserving the treasures entrusted to us. God’s children are entrusted to us, too, and whether or not they physically enter our building, they come within Calvary’s loving embrace.
This new understanding has come at a cost – the cost of our comfort, perhaps, and the familiarity of what “church” looks like. Yes, the walls are stronger, the dome is safer, and our sanctuary will be restored to its former appearance. But we are not invested in familiarity. We are invested in Christ’s commandments in Matthew 25. That mandate leads us into bewildering and downright scary territory. It moves our focus beyond our church walls to engage with those experiencing poverty, homelessness, food insecurity, and marginalization.
Novelist Robin Sharma* writes this about comfort:
“What holds us back in life is the invisible architecture of fear. It keeps us in our comfort zones, which are, in truth, the least safe places in which to live. Indeed, the greatest risk in life is taking no risks. But every time we do that which we fear, we take back the power that fear has stolen from us – for on the other side of our fears lives our strength. Every time we step into the discomfort of growth and progress, we become more free. The more fears we walk through, the more power we claim.”
And we have the Apostle Paul’s familiar and beloved words from 2 Timothy: “For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice but a spirit of power and of love and of self-discipline.”
Friends, this is the season when we traditionally thank God for our blessings, set our sights on the future, and recommit ourselves to making the world look more like God’s Kingdom.
You should know that the Session projects a $107,000 budget deficit for 2023. It is a realistic and hopeful analysis of income and expenses. Remember David Hanna’s reflection on the feeding of the 5,000 in John’s Gospel. “Christ’s dreams always exceed our resources,” David said on November 6th. “Jesus is good at asking us to do what we can’t do.” In other words, passing a deficit budget isn’t careless or defeating. Instead, it is an acknowledgment that when we step beyond comfort and certainty, God will meet us.
Every piece of Calvary’s budget matters to this world God loves – the major, the minor, the lofty, the gritty, the immediate, and the distant. Let your financial pledge for 2023 take you to the power on the other side of your fear! Thank you for all you have done for Calvary and for the many people who depend on our generosity.
In Christian love,
2022-23 Stewardship Chair
*in his cryptically titled The Secret Letters of the Monk Who Sold His Ferrari