Though I must admit to never having been a very good student of history in school, I have, as an adult, developed a fascination for the type of living history related to us by those who actually lived it--not the names and dates in a textbook, but the oral accounts of the factory workers, soldiers, and homemakers who experienced events firsthand and can tell us what it was like to have been an ordinary person in extraordinary times. It is humbling to see, for example, the many bridges around town built by the Works Progress Administration and to realize that some of our kupuna provide us with a direct link back to that tumultuous time in American history. It is also fascinating to see the imprint left on each generation by the times through which it lived. Whether it is the Greatest Generation that lived through the Great Depression and World War II; the Baby Boomers who grew up during the era of Vietnam, Woodstock, and Watergate; or my own generation--Gen X--which came of age during the Reagan 80s; each generation has its cultural touchstones and shared experiences that transcend individual differences and distinguish it from those that came before or after. (Every year, Beloit College releases a Mindset List that reflects the world of incoming college frosh. It makes for fascinating and sobering reading.)
Although we have almost every generation represented among our St. Mark's ohana, it is inspiring and gratifying for me to see that we share a common implicit understanding of what it means to offer ourselves for the good of our community. Many of you give generously and unassumingly of your time, talent, and treasure as a matter of course, and talking about stewardship sometimes feels like preaching to the choir. Nevertheless, I find it enlightening and refreshing to periodically reexamine and revisit aspects of my spiritual life and practice--stewardship being no exception--and I find that I gain fresh insights and learn something new and surprising each time I do so. As Keane Akao shared with us during his presentation on the joyful offering of ourselves through baptismal ministry, every facet of our lives as Christians stems from the promises made by us or on our behalf at our baptism; and for me, one need go no further than the words of the Holy Eucharist, Rite I:
And here we offer and present unto thee, O Lord, our selves, our souls and bodies, to be a reasonable, holy, and living sacrifice unto thee; humbly beseeching thee that we, and all others who shall be partakers of this Holy Communion, may worthily receive the most precious Body and Blood of thy Son Jesus Christ, be filled with thy grace and heavenly benediction, and made one body with him, that he may dwell in us, and we in him.
The rewards of joyfully offering ourselves to God through lives lived sacramentally and intentionally are eternal and incalculable, and so I encourage you to join me in continuing to explore new ways of offering ourselves joyfully for the Lord's service.
Michael Ida, OJN