A Pastoral Reflection, Pentecost Week Thirteen, a Second Summer of Pandemic Living — August 20, 2021
When the world seems like it’s unravelling (I’m thinking of Haiti, Afghanistan, and of course, the pandemic) It can help to pay attention to good news. In this way we can lean into bad news and know that it’s not the only news out there. And wasn’t Jesus all about good news?
Several weeks ago I received a letter addressed to me, with an offering for the church. The writer explained that the offering was a tithe, (the biblical one tenth that is given to God). And it was this person’s devotional discipline to always tithe, no matter what the circumstances.
But why were we the recipient? It turns out that this person is part of a Christian community that is going through a transition right now and is not able to receive offerings. Rather than not giving an offering at all, this person decided to choose a church each month to receive the tithe.
Sharing beyond ourselves is the model our national Church (the ELCA) encourages. We give a portion of our congregation’s income to our Northwest Washington Synod (made up of many congregations, our Bishop and the Synod Council). Our Synod in turn sends a tithe to the ELCA. And that tithe is broadly used for our mission of being Christ’s presence in the world. Including Lutheran World Relief, Lutheran Disaster Services (for domestic disasters), and perhaps the most timely of all right now, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services.
It takes a wide variety of means and methods to knit things back together when the world is unravelling. It also takes our own commitment to being Christ’s good news. It helps when we have a devotional discipline of giving, an awareness of the need, and when we know what opportunities are out there.
So if you’d like to add to the good news with a special gift, here is some contact information:
Lutheran World Relief – LRW.ORG and Lutheran Immigration & Refugee Services
The address for both agencies is 700 Light Street, Baltimore, MD 21230
ELCA World Hunger – ELCA.org/hunger - ELCA 8765 West Higgins Rd. Chicago, IL 60631
And thank you all for your faithful sharing with our church, our local islands, and beyond.
In the Love of Christ, Pr. Beth
The Rev. Beth Purdum Eden is an ordained minister in the Evangelical Lutheran Church. She has served in more than 6 parishes in the Western United States for 30 years.