To say that the devil had been playing around with the REBOOT event would be an understatement. From computers and printers not working, to the Atrium projector suddenly breaking, and to mic-issues which seemed just fine during sound-check… yes, you could say there were some challenges. But, were those challenges enough to stop conversion? Were those challenges enough to stop the smiles, positive body language, or laughter coming from the pews? Nope!
What we had been hoping for during the planning process for REBOOT was “back-pew hospitality.” Unfortunately, we knew not everyone would be sitting in a “prime spot” and that some of our paying guests would end up in the back. However, thanks to the many amazing volunteers, we pulled it off! Volunteer instruction the night-of was pretty simple: Be Kind.
Why? Because that is what Jesus would do. In fact, anytime we talk about service or hospitality in a churchsetting it should always involve a commitment to kindness. Are we really being ministers and servers, if we are not being kind? It is surely hard to be a reflection of Jesus’ hands in feet in the world without being kind.
The kind people I know have an understanding and appreciate for the gift of life. Stewardship is ultimately an act of gratitude, a sharing of all the good things God has placed in one’s life and gifting it back to God’s people. A gracious heart is a characteristic naturally of a kind person. When you live a life that is full of wants, desires, and foolish materialism, you will get sucked into sadness, not kindness. Ultimately, I can’t really imagine a truly kind person who is not also self-sacrificing, generous, and a good steward, can you?
When asked by the New York Times what Saint Teresa of Calcutta would say in her Noble Peace Prize acceptance speech, she said, “I will say, ‘Love one another as God loves each one of you,’ Isn’t this simple? This is what we teach our young children! Why do we let our worldly desires get in the way? Temptation, revenge, resentment, all of these feelings are distractions from the hope and peace found in a stewards way of life.
In the pursuit of becoming a parish filled with disciples who intentionally choose to live stewardship as a way of liferooted in prayer, service, and giving- we must choose kindness. We must choose love. We must choose to think of others before ourselves. If we are kind in our ministries, if we are kind in our relationships with others, if we are kind with ourselves, we will find the love that Mother Teresa has now found. And, to that end, no matter what pew you end up in, you will know you are loved.
Katie Price is the Stewardship Coordinator for the Cathedral and the Director of Discipleship and Stewardship for the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois.