C.S. Lewis once wrote that there is a world of difference between reading a map of the coastline and feeling the
spray of the ocean on your face. You and I come to church on Sunday not to be taught to read maps about God’s
love, but to feel the spray.
Someone once asked Jesus, “Which commandment is the greatest?” He had reason to ask, since there were 613
commandments in the Torah – 248 positive commands and 365 prohibitions. Jesus answered by pointing beyond
the maps to the shore – “Love God with all you are, and love your neighbor as yourself.” Take the plunge, feel the
spray – love is what life is all about.
Jesus lived love. Jesus loved his disciples to death. Jesus called them to the shore where everyone gets wet.
As Bishop Councell puts it, “Jesus soaked himself in our humanity in order that we might be drenched in love and
become the spitting image of our loving God.”
All this applies to the pledge drive going on here at the Cathedral right now, as we receive pledges of financial
support for the 2015 budget. As I ponder what to put on that pledge card, feeling the spray does something to my
spirit. As I stand on the shore this fall with my pledge card in hand, coming near enough to God’s love to feel the
spray, something changes.
In an old country and western song, a mother finds a bill under her breakfast plate written by Danny, her little
boy. “Mommy owes Danny: for taking out the garbage, 50 cents; for helping with the dishes, 75 cents; for being
good, 50 cents; for taking music lessons, 55 cents; for extras, 25 cents. Total: $2.55.”
At lunch, Danny finds the bill under his plate, along with $2.55. He also finds a note. “Danny owes Mommy:
for nursing him through the chicken pox, nothing; for clothes, shoes and toys, nothing; for cleaning his room and
changing his bed, nothing; for cooking his meals, nothing. Total: nothing.”
It doesn’t cost a penny to feel the spray. Nothing is owed. We don’t need to pledge a single penny for the love
of God. As Dietrich Bonhoeffer put it, “It’s not cheap, but it’s free.”
So that’s why our Stewardship Committee invites you this fall to simply open your hands and your heart to
receive the gift of knowing that you are beloved of Christ and that nothing can ever change that. Because if you
feel that spray, amazing things will happen. And you will be changed. You will.
Faithfully, in Christ, Jim