For the Living of These Days—A Word from Renee Purtlebaugh

As we continue through this season at Highland where Freedom in Generosity is our focus, I find myself reflecting more and more on the quote by Maya Angelou from the front cover of our Commitment card, “I have found that among its other benefits, giving liberates the soul of the giver.”

I have loved hearing the many voices of our congregation share their stories—stories of how God has worked through Highland to transform their lives, to bring them closer to God, to be enriched on their journey of faithfulness to God and neighbor.

I loved the view from the chancel Sunday morning as so many rose from their pews and walked toward the front doors of the church to place their commitments on the table, symbolically reminding ourselves with the direction of our steps toward the words “Be ye doers and not hearers only” that Gods call us to listen and to act, to hear and to do. I couldn’t help but see our sanctuary transform into a bridge—a sacred space between the places we gather to be formed by study within smaller communities of encouragement and a world beyond our doors longing for freedom and peace of the deepest kind. As the bridge between came into sharper view in my mind, I became deeply aware of God’s abiding love and grace and mercy that encircles us each and every time as we come and go from this place.

And at the end of our service, the plate of our commitments was carried forward—a visual reminder that this work is not Highland’s work, but rather God’s work through us. It is a recognition that life and resources are gifts from God that we share joyfully and with intention. It is a humble knowing that we have been liberated by the financial gifts of others and others will be liberated by ours. It is a sacred work that we are called to be faithful to and responsible about, thinking, feeling and healing and remaining in tune with God as we go.

As we move from October to November, from the colors of fall nearer to the pause of winter that leads to spring, from those weary to those with hope, from the festivities and laughter of Trunk or Treat to the sacred remembering and tears of All Saints’ Day, from the end of this in-between interim space toward the possibilities of a new pastor joining us, may we be ever mindful of the ways we will find freedom as we embody, each in our own way, a posture of generosity. 

Ever grateful to be on this journey with each of you as we daily have opportunity to be and to become God’s emissaries of care, support, encouragement, hope, peace, justice, joy and love in the world in which we live and work and play.