Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent, a season when we intentionally turn toward God and away from anything that might come between us and God’s never-ending love.
For centuries, Christians have taken up certain spiritual practices as part of their Lenten observances: Fasting, prayer and almsgiving. All three are ways of renewing relationships – our relationships with our bodies, our souls and the world around us, in service of renewing our relationship with God.
Many of us “give up something” during Lent – a small treat like chocolate or ice cream – as a nod toward fasting, a way of renewing our relationship with our bodies. For the second spiritual practice, we might take up a simple form of morning and evening prayer. One example is included in our ELW hymnal on pages 1166 and 1167: Martin Luther’s Morning Blessing and Evening Blessing from his Small Catechism.
The Lenten practice of almsgiving is often neglected, but it’s an important way to nourish our relationships with God’s creation, including our beloved community of women created in the image of God. When we want to make relationships last, we take care of them.
Taking care of the relationships within our local Women of the ELCA circles, among our circles and our whole congregational unit, among our units and our clusters or conferences and our synodical women’s organization, and among our synodical organizations and our churchwide organization – and all the many connections and interconnections in between – will strengthen them and help them last.
That’s what stewardship is, taking care of something we love so that it will last. When we take care of that something by giving of our financial resources, that’s almsgiving.
Almsgiving – stewardship – helps our beloved community of women in all its expressions carry out our mission of acting boldly on our faith in Jesus Christ. Our generous Regular Offerings, Thankofferings and “Where Needed Most” gifts are the most powerful and most versatile ways we can support our community of women. Please prayerfully consider your stewardship of Women of the ELCA in an All Anew way, and please give generously – not just during Lent, but all year ‘round.