Worship from November 7, 2021 – Sermon by Rev. Emily Garcia & Music

Living Epistle – Bob Powers

Good morning.  My name is Bob Powers and I’m thankful for this opportunity to share with you two central reasons why I contribute to the financial support of Church of Our Redeemer.

This year’s stewardship theme, “The Gift of Community” resonates with me even though I am a dyed-in-the-wool introvert who leans toward quiet contemplation.  That’s because the Redeemer community has given me the gift of its being a supportive and enriching place to worship and to develop my individual spirituality. 

Pre-pandemic, I found great comfort – along with spiritual and intellectual engagement – in worshiping with the small gathering at the 8:00 service with its quietly revering what is sacred in life.  I still remember the elation of spirit I felt the first time I received communion kneeling at the altar.  I felt a real connection with the divine presence in my life:  peaceful and grateful for all my blessings.  Unique and yet familiar.

I also felt a real connection with the other parishioners who likely were experiencing their own feelings of spiritual fulfillment throughout the service.  It was truly a shared experience and a gift; as are the current services, which serve as an affirmation of leading a loving life.

I’m glad to know that my annual pledge helps to sustain such worship services for all parishioners.  I like to think we are giving each other support to find the spiritual center that drives the choices we make.  And even though we are about to enter a period of transition of ministers – and will miss Kate – I trust that Redeemer will emerge as vibrant as ever. 

And the second reason I’d like to highlight is that I am really thankful that Redeemer opened up the opportunity for me to scrub pots and pans every week.  Yes, each Wednesday evening as a volunteer for the Lex Eat Together program I happily donned my waterproof apron and took up my wire scrubbing-pad and dishwashing liquid to add my contribution to a bustling and friendly kitchen that would serve a three-course meal to an average of about 60 guests from across the area – those in need who were welcomed with no questions asked.  It gave me a rewarding sense of connection with my fellow volunteers, and our guests, as well as a sense of purpose – at a time in my life where, frankly, I needed both.  Over the course of the program, more than 14,000 meals were served with dignity and warmth in Redeemer’s Great Hall – another way that support of Redeemer supports our neighbors.

And Lex Eat Together is just one of many impactful social ministries of Redeemer parishioners.  My one donation to Redeemer actually supports a multitude of worthwhile programs and organizations that touch many lives of those in need.  That’s because Redeemer is a conduit for parishioners to take on active involvement and mutual relationship with several partners, among them:  Bristol Lodge Soup Kitchen, Lexington Food Pantry, The Grow Clinic, Esperanza Academy, Essex County Habitat for Humanity, Lexington Refugee Assistance Program, St. Christopher’s Episcopal Church in Navajoland, Racial Equity Action Group, and Lex Eat Together.

In several cases, such as Lex Eat Together, Redeemer parishioners played an integral role in the creation and leadership of these efforts.  The most recent example is that the leaders of the Redeemer’s internal efforts around racial equity were instrumental in implementing the town-wide course “Dismantling Racism in Our Town.”  They also are working with the Association of Black Citizens of Lexington to review the Lexington Police manual.

Well, there you have it:  two of the major reasons why I am gladly pledging in this year’s stewardship campaign.  Thank you for listening.

Permission to reprint, podcast, and/or stream the music in this service obtained from ONE LICENSE with license #A-700170. All rights reserved.