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Deeply Rooted: a Stewardship Testimony

The following testimony was given by Noel Spain and Justine Bandstra on Sunday, November 11, 2012. 

Root: A base, a support. An essential element, the basic core, The note from which a chord is built. A primary source, an origin.

The Christian faith is rooted in this: “Let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” (1 John 4:7-8)

Roots run deep. The Root system spreads 2-5x times wider than the crown of the tree. Roots anchor the tree, gather minerals, take up water, and store energy created in the leaves.

St. Luke’s was founded on June 1st, 1900. It was built to love and support the immigrant community of its day.

And the leaves – individual each of them, yet fully connected to the whole organism. The leaves breath, surrendering life giving oxygen to the air and water, and turning light into energy.

Those rooted in can accomplish things both brave and marvelous. St. Luke’s history has taught us this. Our church hosted the first ordination of an African-American Lutheran pastor in this synod – in 1946. In 2006, we were the first congregation in the Metro Chicago Synod to call and extraordinarily ordain an openly gay pastor from outside the ELCA’s roster. We have used the energy from our roots to pave the way for more expansive love for communities that have been historically hated and oppressed “others.”

And finally, the fruits of the tree, are a product of the water and vital nutrients from the roots and the energy and sugars of the leaves. All together, this makes for a fruitful and abundent tree. The fruits perpetuate life and provide for all of life’s creation.

Revelation 22:2, “And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations”.

St. Luke’s continues to unleash the healing love of God in our community and in our world – through our pantry, our services, our summer music festival, our work with the homeless, our advocacy for justice, and our relationships with one another.

Eveyone that is able, rise to your feet!!

Feel your feet in contact with the ground. Rock back and forth, feel where you are centered down through your legs, through your feet, and into the ground. Feel where you are rooted. Rooted in a common foundation shared by all those around you.

Now reach your arms into the air – stretch! Feel your whole being radiating up through the ground, through your feet, legs, and core of your person and out your fingertips! Imagine your hands reaching out like leaves! Just like the roots of the tree rely on the energy giving work of each leaf for the survival of the whole; the roots of our ministry, this body of Christ, rely on the energy each one of us, reaching out – branching out, in service to the larger body – our communal body.

We are in our Stewardship Campaign themed “Deeply Rooted, Branching Out.” We hope our words, and the testimonies to come, motivate each one us to give generously to St. Luke’s. A level of giving that takes sacrifice. Giving rooted in the ministry that you value. Ministry that is life giving to all of us.

Please, help us reach our goal of $75,000 in pledged giving for the coming year. We encourage you to thoughtfully and prayerfully consider your gift. When you are ready, please fill out a pledge card. You will be able to turn in your pledge during worship on December 16th, or you can return your pledge card to the church office.

Also, we really encourage everyone to use electronic giving. The consistent giving can be very helpful for both the giver and the church budget planners.

“So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.” – Colossians 2:6-7

Amen.

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