How Do I Love Thee, Lord

"How do I love thee, Lord. Let me count the ways. I love to the depth and breadth and height my soul can reach... I shall but love thee better after death." Those words came silently me this morning as my morning prayers arose to God. As I have thought over those words, written by Elizabeth Barrett Browning, I realize how true they are in respect to my love for God. My reasons for my love for God are without number. My gifts from God are without number as well for as I live my life, I discover new gifts, new strengths, new courage God has provided me.

I was raised hearing the words to a hymn found in the Hebrew Union Prayerbook, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God, with all thy heart, with all the soul and with all thy might. These words which I command thee shall be upon thy heart: Be holy unto your God. I am the Lord your God." Those words, completed by Jesus' direction that I am to love my neighbors as I love myself, are the standard for how I strive to live my life. How I go about that is what defines me.

I love Christ's Church. I love Christ Church. I have grown, I have flourished within these holy walls. I have been lifted by beautiful music. I have been nurtured by the love of parishioners and fed with God’s word through sermons. I have been with joy through the amazement of children as they learn about Christ through Godly Play. I have witnessed the restoration of the beautiful leaded windows in the room where our choristers practice.

I am filled with gratitude for all these gifts. How can I repay them?  How can I insure their continuance? I give, of course, of my time and my talents. Without them, I would not have received gifts I so love. As I consider all I have gathered and received, it is time for me to consider what I will contribute to help insure the healthy continuance of Godly Play, beautiful music, the maintenance of stately cathedral and so many other things that make us the body of Christ known as Christ Church Cathedral. My harvest has been plentiful this year, while people outside our beautiful cathedral home have been not as fortunate as I.  

During a recent visit with Bishop Hahn, I expressed my concern that my efforts to address a situation I find intolerable would be only a drop in the bucket. The Bishop reminded me that with many drops, a bucket becomes overflowing and that without my contributions, the bucket would never overflow. I hope you will join me in this season of stewardship to bring the Cathedral’s “bucket” to overflowing.

Thanks be to God!

The Reverend Paula Ot


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