The Best Gift
Beloved Members of St. Martin's,
What is the best gift you have ever received?
For me, the best gift was the gift of music. It started with my first real guitar. My Dad was determined that I play guitar, and so at the age of 4 I was presented with a tiny wooden guitar from Sears. There was no way my tiny hands could do anything with it at the time-- but he planted a seed. He made sure I listened to those whom he considered great guitarists, and it was an eclectic mix: Andres Segovia, Chet Atkins, Roy Clark. My Dad had very definite ideas about music: to earn a better quality guitar when I was 12, I had to learn to play the entire Red Headed Stranger album by Willie Nelson, including the tear-jerker "Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain."
My Mom helped by taking me to piano lessons when I was 7 and then encouraging me to play cello when I was 9. That's when it all came together and I began to play guitar, sitting down with a sheet music book and the album to John Denver's Back Home Again album.
Over the years I have been given other guitars, including the resonator guitar that was a gift from this parish a few weeks ago. Whether on cello, percussion, guitar, or other instruments, or just singing with friends, the gift of music has been a constant comfort and companion-- and also a light into the recognition of God's abiding presence in my life. Looking back, I realize that the music of creation was among my earliest memories: the sound of rain on redbud leaves in the back yard, the chord that whistled above your head when the wind wound its way through pines, the excited counterpoint of birds overhead in the birch tree in my childhood home. This simple awareness led to the joy of knowing the love of God-- who sang the stars into being as well as each and every one of us.
Some gifts come to us because we ask. The best gifts, I am convinced, come to us through a generous, profligate outpouring of love-- through the joyous acknowledgement of blessing, a desire to share something beloved with another so that they too can know wonder, awe, and beauty.
This community of faith exists to give that kind of gift to those around us. How we live our lives and how we give of ourselves is the truest testimony to who Jesus is for us. It's how we embody Christ's radical healing and reconciling work in a world that needs that light and that gift, now more than ever.
The best gifts are those that we can share. How can you share the gift of Jesus's love and grace in the world today, not just individually but as a representative of St. Martin's? I ask that this week, we place that intention at the start of each day, and see where the gift will lead us.