It's not enough to build muscle and achieve aerobic fitness.
We need to think about flexibility, too.
It’s Stretch Time at Plymouth! We have a Big Stretch Goal in our 2020 budget! Let’s rejoice! Stretching makes us strong! This Sunday is Consecration Sunday, the day we bring our pledge cards to the communion table in worship and ask God to bless them. (If you won’t be here, you can pledge early online or by mail or in the office.)
According to the Harvard Medical School website and David Nolan, a physical therapist at Massachusetts General Hospital: Stretching keeps the muscles flexible, strong, and healthy, and we need that flexibility to maintain a range of motion in the joints......Regular stretching keeps muscles long, lean, and flexible, and this means that exertion "won't put too much force on the muscle itself," says Nolan. Healthy muscles also help a person with balance...
What does this have to do with our 2020 budget? We have grown as a church, built muscle strength in staff and programming. We built a governance structure that breathes life into our aerobic fitness as we agilely recruit volunteers who respond to the crucial issues of our times and develop the spiritual formation of our congregation. We are larger and stronger that we were ten years ago with more professional staff that give us better infrastructure.
Now it's time to stretch ourselves with a large budget goal for 2020 so that we maintain our muscular flexibility in our growing staff support of God’s work through Plymouth. We need to stretch so we can have a larger range of muscular motion in our extravagant welcome to the northern Colorado community and to CSU students, staff and faculty. With a larger congregation we need to maintain healthy balance in our programming and in balancing the work shared between staff and volunteers. Stretching keeps us flexible and agile, as well as strong and balance, for the movement of the God’s Holy Spirit in our mission and ministry as a vital congregation.
This past Sunday, our conference minister, the Rev. Sue Artt, thanked us for the great generosity of Plymouth as we are the largest contributor in the conference to Our Church’s Wider Mission that provides basic support to our conference and national staff. We also excel in our four other special UCC offerings and our own community-wide and international mission giving. Sue also challenged each of us to S-T-R-E-T-C-H in giving to our 2020 budget so we can continue our strong work for God’s realm. She quoted the late Joseph Campbell, who said, “Money is neither spiritual or non-spiritual. Money is congealed energy. Releasing it is releasing life’s possibilities.”
The energy of money can release life’s possibilities when spent well. When our intention, integrity, and stretching toward a meaningful goal are aligned, we release the energy of our treasure, time and talent. Generosity is generated in surprising ways! (If you were not hear this past Sunday morning, I invite you to listen to Sue’s sermon.)
The strength and flexibility of Plymouth as an outpost of God’s realm in a troubled world will only be maintained through the willingness of each Plymouth member to take the risk of releasing our individual congealed energies of money. Where can you take the risk of stretch in your budget? Some of us can release large amounts of money’s congealed energy. Others small. Either way it’s the s-t-r-e-t-c-h that counts.
Join me in this opportunity to stretch and release God’s possibilities through Plymouth.
PS: Plymouth changes lives! The Stewardship Board has made a series of videos demonstrating how this happens; see them all at plymouthucc.org/give.
The Rev. Jane Anne Ferguson, Associate Minister, is a writer, storyteller, and contributor to Feasting on the Word, a popular biblical commentary. She is also the writer of sermon-stories.com, a lectionary-based story-commentary series. Read more