Giving to the Church

Not long ago I attended church with a friend and hir family. We enjoyed sitting through the service together, singing the hymns (challenging each other to sing without the hymnal), listening to the sermon, pulling out our wallets to get our money for the offering and worshipping in community. This probably doesn’t sound as remarkable as it felt to me – many of you do this every Sunday morning. What made it remarkable for me was that my friend and worship companion is a 4-year old.

As we were eating breakfast in the morning, ze reminded me that we needed to bring our wallets to church. Ze was concerned that ze didn’t have enough money in hir wallet to give to the offering in the Sanctuary and the one during hir Religious Education class.

I was touched by my friend’s desire to attend church on Sunday morning. And I recall ze was enthusiastic the night before; talking about going with hir parents, discussing what ze liked about worship and Sunday School class and looking forward to seeing “church friends.”

Later that day I asked hir parents how it was that ze was so thoughtful about attending church. The response seems simple enough once you hear it – they began taking hir to church from the beginning. They taught hir that sitting through service was not optional; it is one of the ways that we live our faith and provides a grounding moment during the chaos that we call life. On the ride home and during the week they refer back to what they and ze is learning in church, encouraging each other to put what they’ve learned into practice in their everyday lives.

As ze was aging they began discussing the lessons of our religion at home, including hir in their conversations about what Unitarian Universalism means in their lives. They shared their appreciation for a community that helped them to struggle with and clarify what they personally believed about life, death and everything in-between. They discussed being a part of a larger community where they can celebrate and grieve and engage in the world with others who believe similarly to them. They taught hir that giving to the church, both on Sunday morning offerings and the annual canvass was essential, not because it keeps the place running but because it gives them a sense of stewardship for this special place; that it is an extension of the love they feel for the place, Unitarian Universalism’s saving message and their religious community. They invited hir to consider doing the same.

I invite you to take time in the weeks ahead to talk with your family about what coming to church means to you. And I wish for each of you the feeling of enthusiasm that my worship companion shared with me.

Published in: on 13 October 2013 at 20.30  Leave a Comment