Imagine: Growing Generosity and Gratitude and an Invitation to Dinner

When I think of imagination, I often assume that the most prolific and creative people have an abundance of materials, resources and time.  In fact, the stories of scores of our most innovative and artistic people are marked by constraints…what they could do within limits.  The composer, Johannes Brahms, regularly began his writing days by giving himself a circumscribed composing challenge…say, writing a fugue in 20 minutes, to get his juices flowing.  He also threw most of that work away; the exercise was for him alone to grow in his capacities to create, not in the product.
 
There are two Christian spiritual practices that cultivate our imagination …giving and gratitude.  By committing to giving a percentage of our money to God through the Church and other organizations which serve human need, Christians deliberately put a constraint on themselves.  By committing to giving away a portion of our income to others, we are forced to be more creative with what remains.  We experience our reliance on God and we jolt ourselves to be more prudent, more conserving, more novel. 
 
Flowing from this commitment to give is gratitude.  By generously giving away our selves—our bodies, our time, our talent, our money---we become aware and grateful of what remains. For example, I may choose to give up meat one day a week, and so I discover the wonders of Indian cuisine.  The limits underscore the wholeness of what remains.  It takes practice to develop this way of viewing one’s life.  One begins to make connections of gratitude as one looks for them; this is also an act of imagination.
 
St. Stephen’s seeks to foster both the practice of giving and gratitude.  I encourage you to begin and/or continue your practice of giving of yourself and of your finances by making a pledge to God through the parish.  Your financial support enables us to engage in our ministries.  You may make your pledge online here. The Stewardship Committee invites us to develop our collective gratitude by hosting an appreciation dinner on Sunday, November 5, at 5 p.m. in Pecore Hall for everyone who pledges, no matter the amount.  All of us can practice generosity and gratitude.

In Peace,
The Reverend Lisa Hunt