Last weekend nearly 1500 people came to church to listen to Christmas music. That’s amazing. What a wonderful showing at Saint Paul’s. The Crossing sang on Friday. Vox Amadeus performed the Messiah on Saturday. And our own Saint Paul’s Choir
led us in a truly remarkable Lessons and Carols on Sunday evening. A number of parishioners said that it was the finest music they have ever heard at our Lessons and Carols. I think our music is beyond any other church around. It enhances our spiritual tradition of beauty. It is part of who we are and whose we are. We belong to a God whose creation is beautiful.
The glory and the challenge of our ministry at Saint Paul’s is that everyone values the beauty (that’s the glory) but devalues the importance of giving (that’s the challenge). The offering received during Lessons and Carols was $1300. Two checks totaled $700, which means that about 500 people gave $600. While individuals would pay $30 to listen to the Crossing or Vox Amadeus, they paid on average little over a dollar to listen to the Curtis Institute Brass and outstanding music by our own Choir. I wonder why we devalue ourselves this way and think so little of giving? This is a practice that unfortunately harkens back 20 or 30 years (a 1990 stewardship brochure shows our giving the lowest of half a dozen neighboring churches). Our Vestry is having to make difficult choices regarding a budget that is insufficiently supported. Our Stewardship Committee is hard at work to turn this around. We worship a God of abundance who esteems each one of us extravagantly. When we learn this and begin to internalize it, then we will give out of that abundance. This is both the glory and the challenge of our faith.