1 Chronicles 29:11 Yours, O Lord, is the greatness, the power, the glory, the victory, and the majesty. For everything in heaven and on earth is yours. Yours, O Lord, is the kingdom, and you are exalted as head over all.
By Brandon Templeton
Browsing the St. John’s website, one of the first photos that greets you is of Father Beasley anointing a newly baptized baby with Holy oil. If you stare at the picture long enough you might focus on the little sockless feet of the newly baptized. A traditional southern baptism is celebrated at church with extended family and friends and then followed by a fancy brunch with little sandwiches, petit fours, and wonderful gifts for the newly baptized. This wonderful celebration is usually held at a family members’ nice home or a fancy restaurant.
Contrast the previously described picture from the St. John’s website with a similar picture found on the website for Family Promise of the Midlands. Clicking on the Success Stories tab, the first photo that greets you is of another set of sweet little feet. The story that accompanies the photo is where the stark differences begin. Those sweet little feet belong to a baby whose early months of life were spent living in a car. This sweet child went to bed in between his parents in the backseat of a car instead of an ornate wooden crib in a beautifully themed nursery.
As a dad of two teenagers, I recall Emma and Smith’s little feet and how cute it was when, as infants, they discovered their feet for the first time. Fast forward a few years and I remember rushing them both multiple times to a doctor for broken toes and growth plates or badly sprained ankles. Their feet have been through a lot in their limited years – learning to crawl and then walk, kicking a soccer ball for the first time, jumping on the blob at Camp Gravatt, walking endless miles at Disney World or all-around Europe, climbing a ladder on a mission trip, or parading in at St. John’s as acolytes.
What a blessing it is when those same feet bring them in our backdoor every afternoon after a long day of school and sports practice. Much to Katherine’s dismay, often those feet are still wrapped in smelly and muddy football or soccer cleats as they come storming in ready for dinner.
Before the Last Supper, Jesus wrapped a towel around his waist and poured water in a basin. Then he began to wash the disciples’ feet. The lesson Jesus was teaching his disciples was not just about humble service to others. Jesus was reinforcing that unless our sins are washed away, we can not have any part of him and ultimately not inherit the kingdom of God. The same kingdom that is mentioned in our stewardship theme for 2019 – Yours, O Lord, is the kingdom. The same kingdom that is mentioned 162 times in the New Testament. The same kingdom that we reverently end our Lord’s prayer with – For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen
1 Chronicles 29:11 and the doxology of the Lord’s Prayer reminds us that the kingdom is not ours, the power is not ours, and the glory is not ours. God’s ownership is all inclusive. All things in creation belong to God. All living things belong to God. All human beings belong to God. God has authority over all of it. God created us to be stewards of His creation. We don’t own what is entrusted into our care; we simply manage it for God and are required to act on his behalf.
Through your faithful gifts of stewardship, St. John’s supports wonderful programs like Family Promise of the Midlands. As a follow-up to the second set of sweet feet; thanks to the hard work of the parents, Family Promise staff, and support of congregations like St. John’s, there is wonderful news. The beautiful child who spent his early months living in a car recently took his first steps in the family's new home. What a blessing it must have been for his parents to wash his sweet feet in the bathtub of their new home.
Please join Katherine and me in striving to be better stewards of our blessings. Join us in making a pledge to St. John’s and the many wonderful programs and ministries that we support.
Act Justly. Love Mercy. Walk Humbly.