July 5, 2012 The clock is ticking. As I write this letter it’s down to 22 days, 7 hours, and 10 minutes… then the Olympics begin! For a little more than 2 weeks this summer the eyes of the world will be fixed on London. And it’s not just about gold, glory, or the quest for a new world record. The Olympics are a human drama, summed up nicely in this year’s motto: Inspire a Generation. Because even if you’re not a “sports fan” most of the time, it’s easy to get caught up in the drama, energy, and devotion of the Olympic Games.
Games like the Olympics have been inspiring people for thousands of years. They even inspired St. Paul!
Don’t you know that all the runners in the stadium run, but only one gets the prize? So run to win.Everyone who competes practices self-discipline in everything. The runners do this to get a crown of leaves that shrivel up and die, but we do it to receive a crown that never dies. (1 Cor 9.24–26)
That’s right, St. Paul told the earliest Christians to think of themselves as athletes training for the Games. After all, he was writing to Christians in Corinth and in Paul’s day the Corinthians hosted the Isthmian Games - second in fame only to the Olympics.
Paul’s point was simply this: Christianity isn’t a spectator sport. It also isn’t a competition, but Christian life involves a similar kind of drama, energy, and devotion. Just like Olympic (or Isthmian!) athletes, our training is less about “keeping the rules” and more about striving for a goal. In our case it’s about following Jesus and reflecting God’s love into the world. It’s about reflecting God’s love in all of our worship, all of our relationships, and all of our work. And if you’ve ever tried to do that for very long - you know it takes practice, even training.
That’s one of the places where stewardship and pledging come in. They’re part of our training and practice. They’re about committing our life, our energy, and our resources toward the goal of following Jesus and reflecting God’s love. And here’s where it gets really exciting. Because even though training and practice aren’t very flashy, when churches like ours get caught up in the energy and devotion of following Jesus and reflecting God’s love, it becomes the ultimate human drama. It’s not about gold or glory, but when we’re caught up in this human drama our church life takes on a whole new meaning. In fact, it’s the kind of thing that might even capture the world’s attention.
Thank you for giving your time, your resources, and your prayers to the life of St.C’s. Please help us through the summer months by staying current with your financial pledge. It’s already been a year of tremendous progress and we’ve even set some new records in financial giving. You are one of the reasons we’ve been “running to win” in our life and worship. And I can say with full gratitude and humility: it’s been inspiring to join you.
The Rev’d. Eric M. Hillegas