Spoken at the 10/24/21 Sunday Choral Eucharist
Thank you, Dean Malcolm, for the opportunity to share some thoughts on stewardship this morning.
Good morning, my name is Robert Brown, and I have been coming to Grace since I moved to San Francisco almost 5 years ago. After having grown up in Texas, I lived in Los Angeles and New York, where I was first received into the Episcopal Church. Despite my occasional misgivings about living in San Francisco, I never hesitate to bring greetings from Grace Cathedral to wherever I go, including a few weeks ago to Westminster Abbey where the precentor fondly recounted his memories of love from this very congregation.
Over the last several weeks, we have heard during these talks about the first time someone came into this place and felt welcomed, awed, or inspired. While I think you are all lovely people, I bet this incredible space had something to do with those feelings. Indeed, places like Grace have a way of opening something up within us. A way of making us vulnerable somehow. A way of inviting us to come experience this large, peaceful, and holy place.
What is it that makes a space…a place holy? As a member of the Altar Guild, I am privileged with a more unique perspective than most. While I notice the stains on the floor, the chips in the stone, and tears in the fabric, I also see them all as signs of love. The prayers and worship of people like you imbue this place with a powerful type of love. Those signs of love provide me solace, inspiration, and support in ways that perhaps something else at Grace may provide for you.
So, I daresay that what changes a space and makes it holy is actually you. Along with the prayers and worship of the thousands who have come before us, we have thinned the space between heaven and earth right here. I believe the work we do here in our prayers and worship make those chance times of conversion, those precious moments of transformation, possible for someone walking in for the first time or for the thousandth.
I hope my message inspires you to join me in pledging to stewardship. It’s easy to do online or on the pledge cards that are available in the pews.
Your commitment makes this space possible. Thank you for providing a place for my heart to be filled. Thank you for making this place a touchstone of and for the betterment of humanity. And, finally, thank you for making it possible for us to truly say to all who enter here: “If you feel drawn to this table, let nothing keep you away.”