Sermon Reflection Respectfully Submitted by Mal Underwood | Sunday, October 21, 2018
We were blessed on Sunday to have Fr. Spenser Simrill as our guest preacher. He was invited to offer a stewardship message as part of our Growing Hearts for Giving commitment campaign for 2018. When Fr. Spenser first visited Ascension on June 3, 2018 as our supply priest, he delivered a inspirational message about all of God’s children belonging to the family of Christ regardless of race, creed, or color and as Christians we are to love each other as God loves us.
In Sunday’s message, Fr. Spenser opened by noting the main theme of the Gospel lesson – that service to others, and not our own importance, is most valued in the kingdom of God. He then began the application of that theme to the stewardship of our lives through the lessons he learned from his beloved Grandmother Lily. Among Lily’s life lessons were:
● Gratitude – Fr. Spenser’s great grandfather, Lily’s father for whom Fr. Spenser was named, was a professor at Washington & Lee. One of the enduring lessons he shared was that there was always someone behind us whose job was to “carry your parachute”. He urged Lily, his grandmother, to always remember the importance of that person and to thank them for carrying that parachute. Without them the mission could not be fulfilled. Great grandfather Spenser told Lily to always remember those who “carry your parachute”, that is, we are never alone in fulfilling the work we have been given to do. Always be grateful to those who support you and help you succeed.
● Hospitality – Lily was a giver who could turn a simple meal into a banquet. Their Sunday dinners routinely included six to eight guests with whom they shared the meal and grew their hearts through fellowship and discourse.
● Generosity – Lily understood life was a gift from the greatest giver of all. She was committed to living on 90% of what God gave the family and tithed her financial resources to the kingdom. Just as in the Episcopal wedding liturgy, she routinely practiced that “with all that I am, and with all that I have, I honor you”. It is that devotion to honoring God that Fr. Spenser remembers and practices himself. In
Finally, as Grandmother Lily was fond of saying, let’s review the bidding:
1. Acknowledge and thank those who love and support you
2. Model the love of God in the world
3. When we’re called home we can’t take our money with us – we only take the love we experience like that we share in our Ascension family.
Fr. Spenser closed by asking all to read together the General Thanksgiving found on page 836 of the Book of Common Prayer. I invite you to read it as well. It gives us an inspirational foundation for gratitude in our lives.