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Psalm 1

Ephesians 2.4-10

’Tis the Season to Be Scary

Twenty-third Sunday after Pentecost

Wednesday morning dawning deary, Sunday’s sermon but a theory,

  Circe lying sleeping on the comfy carpet of my office floor,

Seeking out the mystic meaning for this evening’s Hallowe’ening

  So to find a scary subject for the prolix preacher to explore,

   In such a manner that might not prove a total bore

Came the notion:  Spook the parish – to the core.


How is it that our species chooses to distribute Twix and Reese’s

  On the day that Luther nailed his theses to that grand cathedral door –

Luther’s rapping, in his monkish manner tapping: 

   rapping, tapping, the Pope caught napping;

  Reformation happ’ning, posted parchment flying, flapping,

  there upon the Wittenberg Cathedral door.


All Hallow’s Evening’s celebration linked to Luther’s Reformation

  trick or treaters’ jubilation to set upon our homes once more,

Coveting candies they’ve been cravin’ and the spare change you’ve been savin’

  “Say – are you supposed to be a Raven?” you ask the mask before your door.

Quoth the mask: “Trick or Treat!” - nothing more.


For this Reformation Sunday falls one day before All Saint’s Monday

  Knowing too that come someday soon our Stewardship will call the tune:

Choirs singing, bells a-ringing, offerings winging toward a far and distant shore,

Yet the need is unambiguous to maintain a mission most vigorous

  Less our budget become exiguous and leave our mission ruin’d

 The tried and trusted Trustees tune the budget sings:  we need more.


Upon the grave of my distant cousin, so-so sermons are a dime a dozen.

  Yet another Sunday Service? Dear heavenly saints preserve us! 

What a dull and crashing bore!


But a Homily for Hallowe’en?  With Reformation in between?

  When has this last been seen?  And are these two the best vaccine

  Against the stressful Stewardship sermon that can only prove horrid sore?

Not in this church, heretofore.


You know, I think it’s kind of funny when the taxing topic turns to money,

  Even dispositions sunny make a beeline for the rearward door…

Yet how else are we to pay for those things that we pray for and say are for

  The church’s stated mission:  love the outcast, feed the poor?

So if I presume to preach a premise I’ve rarely preached before:

pray, dear people, don’t be sore.


Can we even count the cost of saving souls that once were lost

  Without having to exhaust the abundance of God’s Pentecost

  which our forebears once forebore?

So I ask this comely congregation to pledge with joyful jubilation

  In an act of avid adoration to the Lord whom you and I adore

Dear Church of Chester – we know the score.


So what’s the task? And what’s the ask? You ask behind your Covid mask…

  What can we say about stewardship that has not been said before?

To startle our dogmatic slumbers do we dare to offer numbers in a way that won’t encumber

  Our desire to fund a ministry with tithes and offerings and pledges and many gifts galore –

(You can hear almost the counters counting as our generosity is mounting, mounting,

  The church surmounting every threat of debt and deficit we deplore.

With abundance and gratitude at our very core.)


One hundred K’s our stated goal – don’t let the numbers start your soul,

  it will help maintain control of a mission and ministry we cannot faithfully ignore.

For the church my friends not ours – it’s God’s.  And we can’t afford the false façades

  Of believing we can stretch the odds of living, thriving, striving and surviving.

We can’t become a dinosaur, a vestige of the days of yore, and sacrifice our spirit’s core –

  Called to serve Christ and community, let our pledges mark our unity in this sacred opportunity

Let God be praised forevermore.


Now I hope you do not think it ill in our search for ways to pay the bill,

  to tilt the words to fill the till while parroting Poe with poetry poor –

So I’ll ask you now where’er your sitting, what on earth could be more fitting

  Than to rob the Raven’s raving author? (It’s easier than to hustle Hawthorne!)

    to pay the purpose of this steward’s service in the early hours before

    the evening’s impish gremlins spook us – small ghouls and ghosts galore

carried dreamily upon the deep “night’s Plutonian shore…”


And I’ve noticed, now in quitting – every one of you’s still sitting,

  as if in concert admitting – no Deacons falling on the floor –

That if by design or chance you’ve let this poetry entrance you,

  this tintinnabulating rhythm, this sort of Runic rhyme,

  no one looking at their wrists as if to wish me out of time,

  no sidelong glances out the window nor inching toward the chapel door,

  fearing I’ll drone on and on and on as your pastor’s never droned before…


Hear but this, and fear no more, the Stewardship mailing is out the door,

  Your puckish Poe-ish preaching pastor will preach thus Nevermore.

That’s all there is – there ain’t no more!




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