Bring some Halloween candy. Make sure it’s a mix of good and the ones people don’t like.
I’m very glad to see you today.
So I hope you had a great Halloween. What was your costume? Did you have fun? Did you get lots of candy? What was your favorite kind that you got? Accept answers.
We had fun too and I brought some candy that my kids collected at a Trunk and Treat and our Trick or Treating. And there’s all sorts here. Go through the candy. Mmmmm. Lots of good one.
Now, if you wanted to give some of your candy away, which pieces would you give away first? We usually want to give away the pieces we don’t like. We want to give out the smarties, the lollipops, the ones that are unlabeled and taste like chalk. Some people like them but I don’t. So if I wanted to give candy away, I’d want to give away the pieces I wouldn’t eat. Or I would wait until I eat all the other candy I like and then give over the rest. I would keep the good stuff for myself – and let other people have the leftovers.
But what if we looked at it differently? What if we looked at this stash of candy and realize that – all of it is a gift. Sure, we went and collected it – but we needed all the other people in their homes to go out and buy the candy and wait at the door so we could collect it. But there’s more than that. We needed someone, years ago, to invent this candy. We needed someone to make it. We needed someone to market it – to let us know that this candy existed. And we needed the farmer to grow the food, workers to harvest it, and to put cook the candy and make it happen. And that brings us all the way back to the source of all our gifts and everything around us – to the source of everything – and that’s God. Every piece of candy in this pile is a gift. Every piece of candy here is a gift from God. And since every bit is a gift, then maybe could look at this candy differently – realize it is a gift – and think about giving it away, including the good stuff, as a gift too.
A little later we’re going to hear about how we, as a church, handle not candy but our money. We know that the money people here give the church is a gift – and that this gift is centered in the gifts God first gave them. So for a long time, we’ve been generous with this gifts. We give 10% of every financial gift to the church away. It goes to support our friends in other churches, our friends at Camp Koinonia, our friends who are being fed through the Pascack Valley Meal on Wheels, and who are being supported by Lutheran Social Ministries of New Jersey and Lutheran World Relief. So…it’s like if we had 10 pieces of candy – the first thing we do is send one away. And it’s not the one left over. We don’t look at the 9 pieces and eat everything first. We don’t pay our bills, pay my salary, pay for the lights and heat in the church, before we give 10% away. It’s a way we help love the world. It’s the way we share the gifts we give. And it’s a way we do something for God. Everything we have that gives us life – that helps us – that makes us feel loved and supported – is a gift from God. So we give back some to this church – and then this church gives some of that away too – because we are generous. And God invites us to be generous with our gifts, with our money, with our time, and – most importantly – with our love.
Thank you for being here! And I hope you have a blessed week!
Each week, I share a reflection for all children of God. The written manuscript serves as a springboard for what I do. This is from Christ Lutheran Church’s Worship on All Saints’ Sunday, 11/04/2018.