The title of this Daily Cup is from the portion of scripture set aside to commemorate the life of Hilda, Abbess of Whitby whom we celebrate today, Matthew 19:27-29.
Hilda died today in the year 680 AD after a very long life–all of 66 years, which, in her time, was a long life indeed.
Hilda spent half of her life as a princess in the court of King Edwin. Her father was poisoned when she was just a young girl. She was baptized by St. Paulinus in 627 AD and, at the age of 33 became a nun. In 657 she founded the double monastery at Whitby–with an abbey for nuns and a monastery for monks, separated by a church between the two main buildings. The monastery became a famed learning and training center–at least five bishops-to-be received their training at the monastery. Hilda herself was very wise and was often the counsel of kings and other abbots and abbesses. She had considerable influence with both monarchies and the Church.
The monastery was chosen as the location for the Synod of Whitby in 664 AD where the Northumbrian Church decided to follow the teachings of the Roman Church rather than the Celtic Church. Although the two churches did not disagree over doctrine, there were practical matters on which they differed such as the proper way of calculating the date of Easter and the style of haircut and dress for monks. Even though she personally strongly favored the Celtic church, Hilda went along with the decision of the Synod and followed the Roman traditions. Her moderating influence for the adoption of the Roman traditions ensured a peaceful transition.
I have always admired those who have given up society’s way of life to follow Christ fully, as Hilda did in England becoming a nun, and as Peter did in Galilee becoming an apostle almost 1,500 years earlier. Selling all that I have and becoming a monk is not a path that I feel called to walk down on my journey, but I respect those who have given up all of their earthly possessions in devotion to their faith.
In this season of giving–and as we prepare to remember with thanks the abundance that we have been given–I wonder what we faithfully give up to Christ in our lives. What do we give away of ourselves for the working of Christ in the world? How do we make giving of ourselves–with all that we have in body, mind, resources, talents and skills–a priority in our lives? Or maybe we WISH it was more of a central priority in our lives to give of ourselves to Christ.
One of the ways in which we can give of ourselves to Christ and help to further the work of the gospel in the world is by making giving to our church not just “A priority” of our charitable giving but THE priority of our charitable giving. Contributing financially to the work that St. Alban’s does in our community, our city and even in the world is one of several ways that we can give of ourselves to Christ–and that work is enabled by the skills and talents you bring to St. Alban’s; the time that you devote to faithfully attending church or volunteering your time with one of the many vibrant and life-giving ministries in which we are engaged as a parish; and of course through your gift of your financial resources. Please give generously…and give with a heart full of gratitude for all of the blessings of our lives. It is as simple as clicking here.