(*please skip if you have not been following this story). On Easter morning the congregational offering was added to the sit-in total and the Building Fund Treasurer took it all into the small side vestry to calculate what our total financial response was. He promised to open the vestry door half-way once he had completed the task. I had no idea what would happen.
Meanwhile I preached on "Easter People" who share the miracle 'Jesus is Lord', use the Easter title 'Jesus is my Lord' and live the Easter faith 'Jesus is risen for me' (actually 3 points!) I quoted Ray Lindquist: Where Christ goes, drama goes. For it is impossible to look anywhere in the gospel and fail to find something powerful happening. The risen Jesus sets miracles in motion today. And I stressed that though individual faith is essential, Easter people can experience 'corporate miracles' when they are led through events which are contrary to the regularly observed processes of nature.
Obviously everyone was thinking about our financial faith response - a very specific sign of the Easter Lord at work. I think that some regarded linking financial giving with Easter as unworthy, even tawdry. Admittedly, it was strange. What would happen? Looking at my sermon notes I realize that I shared what some people had told me what would happen. Gloomy members explained how the church is mostly elderly or students ' You cannot expect money from any of us.' Others even put a figure on it. One said, 'You won't get more than £20,000.' Another stated categorically 'You won't get more than £30,000.' I wonder whether I mentioned this to soften any disappointment?
As I preached the vestry door remain closed. I was reaching the end of my prepared sermon (I rarely preached longer than 20 minutes) and I wondered how much longer I needed to continue. Perhaps I would have to dip into my evening sermon! Just at that point the door opened. I announced the closing hymn during which the Treasurer climbed the pulpit steps to give me a slip of paper......