heartGood Morning, St. Paul’s.  I’d like to thank Nancy Keating, Emily Levine and their Committee for giving me the opportunity to talk about my own Giving Moments. The idea of Giving is personal for me, as it is for most of us.  I’d say that I am almost haunted by the need to give.  At the age of 4, As I walked down the cement stairs that led to the church basement, I encountered a Sunday School classmate who I found crying.  When I asked Ellen why she was crying, she told me that she had lost her hair barrette and she was searching frantically to find it.  I helped her and we were on our way to class.

In later school years, I was the receiver of many Giving Moments.  I received a sharpened pencil from a classmate when I’d neglected to sharpen my own pencil between classes.  When I’d forgotten my Nancy Drew book out on the school playground in the rush to get inside when a Midwest rain storm came through quickly, a boy in my class ran out in the storm to rescue my beloved book. The simple fact that these memories are more than a half century old, tells me how important these moments of Giving were to me and still are.

As a Navy wife I attended countless churches.and was always surrounded by all I needed.  I was able to play piano or organ for Vacation Bible School sessions, and for a variety of Protestant Denominations depending on the Clergy who brought a service to the small chapel in Winter Harbor, Maine.  In these years I learned about giving of time and Talent when financial resources were slim.

These were all Spirit-filled moments of Giving and Receiving for me.  As was when attending a Lutheran church service in Gran Marais, Minnesota with Steve and his mother.  While singing a much sung hymn, Amazing Grace, my throat caught as I uttered a phrase that finally got my attention.  It was the answer to prayer, a constant demand for God to answer my simple question…why?  Tears came easily and washed away my angst.

It doesn’t surprise me that I chose a professional career of service.  Through serving others, I received countless gifts from those who worked with me…and for these experiences, I am forever grateful.

And I think that’s the key word…gratitude.  I serve because I am grateful, I participate because I am grateful, I give to complete the Circle.