Friday, November 25, 2011

By Will and Deed. . .

I have been reading The Anglican Digest for some 39 years.  It is not quite what it was but neither has it gone off the deep end into the great abyss -- a fate that has befallen too many Anglicans in this country.  Over the years, I have stolen artwork, copied articles, reworked writing into newsletter articles, etc.  Not so much of late.  One of the sections I always appreciated was the section called "By Will and Deed."  It chronicled the bequests of the faithful to church, school, and ministry upon their death.  I found it hard not to read about these folks whom I did not know but, nonetheless, of whom I was encouraged and inspired.

They formed an odd conglomeration of bishops, priests, deacons, wardens, vestry members, organists, choir directors, Sunday school teachers, choir members, etc.  Their only commonality was that they remembered in their wills their home parish or some ministry dear to their hearts.  It warmed my heart to read of a woman who never married but sang in the choir for 67 years and taught Sunday school for same period and then left thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars to make sure her parish continued the good work of which she was a part.  Or to hear of the priest who deposited every honorarium or gift and then, upon his death, returned to the congregation he had served for so many years a princely sum of hundreds of thousands of dollars that they may continue on long after his death.  Or to hear of the man who had raised six children in the faith and left a million dollars to a seminary so that there would be faithful priests to serve his grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and their sons and daughters.

It is a profound mark of a generous heart that you look beyond yourself and your own needs to provide for those whose faces you will never see and whose lives will never cross your own.  By Word and Deed was a story of faithful church goers and workers who believed that it was important that the work of the kingdom be supported in their death as it was in their life.

As Lutherans we have the same opportunity.  We are not nearly so comfortable with this as those Anglicans but we should learn to practice up on our giving by will and bequest.  It is especially true that in this age of dwindling congregations and pressure to adopt contemporary worship and music that we who appreciate the liturgy and the church's song would give this cause our generous support even after we have departed this life in the faith.

So if you are reading, select your recipient and make your gift.  Endow the choir or the maintenance on the pipe organ or the building maintenance and repair or pay down principle on the mortgage or assist in a mission endowment that future generations may rejoice in your faith by dispersing the funds to a worthy mission of the Church each year.

On this day when hoards have heard and heeded the call to early bird bargains and shopping specials, I plead that you may leave a legacy in death as you showed forth your witness in life.... That the good work may go on undistracted by the need to raise funds or pinch pennies.  Go for it... really!!

PS  If you want to have some real fun, do not wait until you are dead.  May a bequest now that you may see it fulfilled and kept and now leave that surprise to those who will administer your estate!


Anonymous said...

"In this age of pressure to adopt
contemporary worship and music"

Maybe you are grinding your axe too
much. Where is this pressure coming
from? It is not coming from the Synod
or the Districts. The local parish
has the 2006 LSB. The worship wars
of the 1980's are over. As we begin
the Advent season it is time to
chill out and enjoy our preparation
for Christ's birth in the manger.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said: "It is not coming from the Synod or the Districts."

Depends on where you are located. There are a ton of districts with this agenda - just look at the worship "styles" used by the newest and by mission congregations. If you think this, you are naive.