By Rey Lambatin, Choir Director
The season of Boos and Trick or Treats have passed, and before we know it, the Thanks and Gobble Gobbles will be gone, and then it’s time for Ho Ho Hos and Hallelujahs.
In the past few years here at CGS, it has been part of our Christmas celebration to help spread the spirit of the season with a concert. Traditionally, the event, while showcasing the rich and diverse talents with which our church has been blessed, also helps raise funds for a church ministry or an organization that we believe carries or in line with our church’s mission. It is, additionally, an opportunity for us to invite people in our surrounding community to our church, and share the good news of our Savior’s birth in a setting that’s different from our usual worship service.
I’m specially excited about this year’s concert. Not only we will hear performances from our own Keynote Vocal Group, CGS Mixed Choir, CGS Band, duet and solo singers, but also from the Monte Vista High School Choir, Variations. You will hear favorites like Jingle Bells, Silent Night, Silver Bells, and O Come All Ye Faithful, and some new melodies that, I’m sure, will soon be added to your “good” list.
This year’s concert will be held on December 7, Saturday, 7:00 PM, in our church sanctuary. There are no tickets to purchase to see the show, but free-will donations will be collected to benefit the Mt. Cross Ministries. I hope that you’ll come, and bring friends and family, to our event for a worthy cause, while celebrating the joy of the season with music!
One of the joys of my vocation is that I get to walk with each of you through your own faith. While there are many similarities between each of the people who worship and serve at CGS, you each have your own baggage, gifts, and (best of all) quirks. It really is my pleasure to hear your pains and fears and share your joys. Most of all though, I love discovering and questioning with you.
I wish that I had the infinite bandwidth to sit with each of you on a regular basis and dive into scripture, or untangle holy mysteries. I long for more time to listen to your thoughts and untangle your ideas about God. But alas, I too am human and not all is possible. This is why I struggle to know what I can do when a season like Advent approaches.
In my ideal world, I would take time to walk with each of you through this holy season while you sit in the pregnant pause before Christmas and wonder what it means for God to be in your life. Since that's not possible, this year I'm going to try the next best thing. I want to set you up with the resources and tools that I and others have found helpful.
Attempting to practice a regular spiritual discipline in a liturgical season is a gift that keeps on giving. In my own spiritual life I have balked at the idea that prayer, or reading, or focused practice could have a meaningful effect on my day to day life. When I was challenged to try anyway, it turns out that I was (yet again) wrong. Daily practice of my faith has shaped my mood and my life over time.
I want to share the same challenge with you that was once given to me. I want to encourage you to attempt a regular practice for the season of Advent. Or Christmas. Or both. Since I can't do this with each of you personally, I hope that you'll let me make some suggestions.
Please click here to tell me what kind of resource would be helpful to you. I will sift through my many resources and get back to you with a couple suggestions. Then, you can attempt them, or save them for another year when your heart is ready. Either way, Jesus is coming to be in your life. Blessed Advent preparation whatever form it might take!
GIVING AT CGS
For many years I was known as being cheap. Just ask John Haselden. I still am a bit, but not as much. I have always tried not to be that way with my Church Community. My parents always gave their 10% to the Catholic Church where my family attended. There were many special projects at the church that needed extra funding beyond the 10% as well. My parents gave till it hurt sometimes (their words not mine). As a child I did not have a good concept of money except for what I made cutting neighborhood’s lawns and delivering the local newspaper.
When I was a young teen my mother died and after that my dad had large amount of medical bills that needed paid, he also made sure the church got their share of his salary. At that time my Dad told me if I wanted to continue at my Catholic High School where I was a freshman, I would need to get a part time job to pay for my tuition. I still don’t know if it was because of money being tight or dad didn’t want me goofing around after class unsupervised because mom wasn’t around. I learned a lot about the value of money during that time.
In my 20s and most of my 30s I didn’t go to church with any regularity. When I did maybe a couple of bucks was given as an offering. John and I started to go to the Metropolitan Community Church, (MCC). I loved the church and eventually was giving my 10% and then some. They, like CGS were living on a couple large gift funds that people had left to the church. Of course, people gave but not nearly the amount needed. We lasted that way for about 8 years until we had to shut the doors it was a very sad day and I pray I will never have to repeat.
Here at CGS I fear we could be going in the same direction as MCC. We are different because there are a number of households at CGS that have the financial ability to give enough money to sustain the mission and the ministry of our church. We each just have to make the decision to give; to sustain with our dollars what we say we want in our church.
For example, I love that we want to remodel the men’s bathroom and make the kitchen more usable. However, I believe we should not begin a large project until we have the dollars to do so. In my opinion we have become too complacent with the funds we have. If we continue the way we are going, we could end up like MCC.
Please try giving more. You can try the 10%, if it hurts too much at first, start with a smaller percentage and maybe gradually work yourself up to 10%, or as my mom and dad would say “until it hurts.”
Or if you are already giving as much personal income as you can, maybe you can help us figure out ways to generate revenue with our valuable property. We have inherited a wonderful gift of property and facilities from God and our founders for generations to come, it can’t stop with us. With this wondrous gift comes daunting responsibility. I know I am very willing to help where I can, are you? To continue our mission, CGS needs each of us to contribute. With your and God’s help we will.
In God’s blessings
Christ the Good Shepherd
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