Luke 21:5-19

Pastor Steve Holm

Dear Friends,
Like the rest of you members of Esperanza I received a commitment card in the mail a couple of weeks ago with instructions to return it (filled out I presume) by this Sunday, November 19. I’m familiar with the practice. Commitment Sunday is a big deal in the life of any congregation. Without a response from a significant portion of the membership the congregational council will only be guessing when they prepare a budget for the following year.
Generally, the folks who set up the lectionary texts for the year give pastors a boost on this Sunday. Whether it’s purposeful or not the gospel will have some reference to what Jesus said about money–but this year it didn’t work out that way. The Luke passage is about the last days and the trials and tribulations of believers in dark and dangerous times. There’s nothing in there about generous, sacrificial giving. But still, there is a verse that caught my attention! At the very end of the assigned reading Jesus says, “This will give you an opportunity to testify.”
As I’ve thought about that line, which in context refers to disciples being hauled before kings and governors, I realized that it’s a perfect verse for our community. Our pastor has left us, a substitute is filling the preacher role, and an interim has been assigned. Obviously it’s a time of transition and uncertainty–but what an opportunity it is for us to testify! In this moment we can say to the world that we are committed to our sisters and brothers in this congregation, and will continue to work with them in the mission God has given us. Pastor Steve has gone but the ministry continues!
Personally, I’m going to increase my financial commitment to Esperanza. It’s probably the best way possible for me to testify of my love for its people and to say thanks for the amazing love I’ve received in the last seven years. I just hope I can remember to bring the card with me on Sunday–and I hope you remember too! It’s important!