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One of my icons, Father Henri Nouwen (1932-1996), reflects poignantly about gratitude, namely how it is an awareness to be reached and can become a quality of the heart. I believe that transformation of the human heart and radical stewardship are our best way forward in all seasons of life. 

Nine months into the impact of and changes associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, we are blessed. Amid a staggering reality that the human family remains torn apart by hatred, violence, inequity, and a common resistance to embrace that all people are created in the image of God, we are blessed. In the storm of vitriol and alienating politics, we are blessed. By what Presiding Bishop Michael Curry proclaims as the “loving, liberating and life-giving” ethos of the Episcopal tradition, we are blessed. Likewise, we are blessed by life at Grace-St. Luke’s. 

At GSL, you and I are beneficiaries and benefactors of a significant ministry to all sorts and conditions of people and a courageous vision. And things will only get better through expressions of gratitude in this and all seasons. God in Christ Jesus calls the faithful to live from places of abundance versus scarcity and to watch the unfolding of growth and prosperity. God always provides, and all shall be well. One way that gratitude can manifest itself and make a difference is by generous giving of time, talent, and treasure to support life at Grace-St. Luke’s. 

Our stewardship campaign, Resilience and Connection by Giving, launched on Celebration Sunday, September 13. It is bound to be successful if we give to this sacred thriving parish from the heart. I carry abiding gratitude for the privilege to share in God’s mission, ministry, and vision with you, and commit to offering even more to our common life. In gratitude, I will increase my annual pledge for 2021 and invite you to consider the same with your estimate-of-giving, if possible, by November 1.

Nouwen writes, “Fear and anxiety never totally leave us. But slowly they lose their domination as a deeper and more central experience begins to present itself. Gratitude is the awareness that life in all its manifestations is a gift for which we want to give thanks. The closer we come to God in prayer, the more we become aware of the abundance of God’s gifts to us. We may even discover the presence of these gifts in the midst of our pains and sorrows. The mystery of the spiritual life is that many of the events, people, and situations that for a long time seemed to inhibit our way to God become ways of being united more deeply with him. What seemed a hindrance proves to be a gift. Thus gratitude becomes a quality of our hearts that allows us to live joyfully and peacefully even though our struggles continue.” –A Cry For Mercy, Henri J. M. Nouwen, A Grateful Heart

God’s peace and blessings as we try, 

Ollie+

The Rev. Ollie V. Rencher, Rector
901.252.6320 | orencher [at] gracestlukes [dot] org

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