Stewardship: The act of managing the property of another person; the conducting, supervising, or managing of something, especially the careful and responsible management of something entrusted to one’s care.
The earth is the LORD’s and all that is in it, the world, and those who live in it. Psalm 24:1
Jesus tells us parables about those who were good and bad stewards – about how they lived and conducted themselves as stewards. He gives each of us, as his disciples, the opportunity to be stewards of our God-given gifts and talents. Beginning today, and during the Advent season, and later during Lent, Cathedral parish members will share in their own stories some of their own understanding of what tham means for them. These stories are not meant to point fingers at anyone, but are a gift to help all of us understand the larger picture of stewardship, which includes money, but is actually about every part of who we are as human beings and children of God.
Cathedral and Me, by Terry Moore
St. John’s Cathedral fills my life with stories.
I arrive at church among the monuments marking the graves of those who came before me. Every monument evokes a story, and I know some of those stories.
There’s Hudson’s Bay Company chief factor James Thomson. My paternal grandfather married his daughter, Inga Thomson, late in life, after the early death of the grandmother I never knew. Over there lies University of Manitoba physiologist Joe Doupe, the father of my schoolmate David. I wrote Joe’s biography a few years ago for a Toronto history of medicine foundation. There’s hardware mogul James Henry Ashdown. I live in his warehouse building in the Exchange District, now that they’ve turned it into condos. By the cathedral’s north door lie E.S. Moorhead and his wife Elizabeth Maude, my maternal grandpa and grannie, with their son Peter, who died in childhood. They lived on Alfred Avenue until they could afford something grander and moved to Carlton and Broadway.
These people have all touched my life one way or another. Some of them provided some of my genes. All of them helped build my city and shape my life. At the cathedral, I am close enough to touch them, as it were.
At the cathedral, as in many Anglican churches, we list in the weekly bulletin the names of parishioners and others known to us who are in trouble and have asked us to pray for them. In some cases, I know the story that goes with the name and I know how to pray for them. The prayer list says each of us is a named and treasured individual, known to our neighbours and to our creator, and each of us has a story to tell.
After the Sunday morning service, a lot of us linger near the coffee maker next to the baptismal font at the top of the centre aisle. You can take your cup of coffee and sit with anyone at all and tell them the story that’s on your mind. It may be something about the weather or it may be something about sin and redemption or it may be something suggested by the sermon we just heard. There’s a curious dynamic about that weekly moment at St. John’s: people don’t want to leave. We have just shared together an important experience of our week and we’re not ready for the moment to end.
So, in quick succession on a Sunday morning at the cathedral, I meet some ancestors, some acquaintances and family connections, some neighbours in distress and some neighbours who have welcomed me to join them in worship. Each of them brings me at least a fragment of a story. On a good day, I might even meet Jesus while we tell each other his story, in the singing and the readings and the breaking of the bread.
Plenty of stories. Great way to finish one week and start another.