By Anne Burgdorf
We are called to be a blessing to the world around us. These blessings come in many shapes and sizes. In 1 Thessalonians, Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy thank the Thessalonians for being a blessing to the world. The apostles highlight their faith, labor of love, and steadfastness of hope in the Lord. The Thessalonians not only hear the word but take God’s message out into the world to be an example of God’s light to others.
The Episcopal Church has been such a blessing at every stage of my life. As a child, it was where I fostered my love of singing. In my home church’s children’s choir, I learned how to read music and work with others. My childhood choirmaster Dr. Ratcliff was
a blessing in my life as well as the lives of many others. Through his patience, time, and faith, he taught us how to read music, work with one another, and show one form of God’s light in the world. The lessons learned in children’s choir have stayed with me and fostered my love of praising the Lord through song.
Later in life, our church congregation held my husband Tom and me up through prayer as we struggled with infertility and miscarriage. When we finally became parents, our next church family blessed us with arms that swooped in to lovingly hold the babies, allowing us respite.
It is my hope to pay forward the love, gifts, and faith that we have and continue to receive. I have sung in choirs for most of my adult life, making music with the hope that it enriches the church service and the congregation.
We all have gifts and talents. In Matthew 22 we are called to “give therefore to the emperor the things that are the emperor’s and to God the things that are God’s.” This is a call to share our faith and talents with our community. What gifts do you have? How can you share them and impact someone’s life in small or large ways?
Anne grew up in upstate NY and went to North Carolina for undergrad before moving to Kansas for vet school. While pursuing specialty post-doc training in zoo medicine, she lived in New Jersey, Illinois, and California. During this adventure, she met her husband. After a long-distance courtship and marriage, they were finally able to be together in California. Tom has been willing to follow her on this wild ride as they’ve moved several more times, including moves to Missouri, South Dakota, and now Texas (State #10!). Along the way, Anne and Tom have been blessed to grow their family. Together, they have learned that God has sent them where they needed to go, even if they didn't know that's what they needed at the time.
Ann's reflection is based on Sunday, the 22nd's lectionary readings...1 Thessalonians 1:1-10 and Matthew 22,