Pastor Appreciation Month – “I’d Rather Forgive Your Sins than get a Gift Certificate” by Pr. Rossow

Is this pastor appreciation month? (Don’t you just love Hallmark invented holidays?) I used to know these things years ago before the parish I serve became more confessional because each year about this time I would get a few gift certificates with a nice card thanking me for my service. The gift certificates still trickle in but to a much less extent now that our members are tuned in to more confessional media.

Gift certificates are a good thing for sure but I would much rather forgive your sins than get a gift certificate and that is my most wonderful gift this year thanks in part to Issues Etc. Let me explain.

When I first came to Bethany, Naperville the parish was thoroughly ensconced in the church growth movement. As a matter of fact, it was a bit of a test parish for the Northern Illinois District for every latest and greatest fad coming out of evangelicalism. Many of the leaders listened to all sorts of American evangelical media which moved some of them, out of guilt no doubt, to give their pastor a gift certificate in thanks for his service. (I must say, I enjoyed countless cafe mochas from the neighborhood Starbucks thanks to those certificates.)

How delighted I was to get an email from a member before sunrise this morning asking to have Holy Absolution in private confession for the very first time. He mentioned that he had heard a program on Issues, Etc. this week that moved him to seek this gift. That’s a gift for Pastor Appreciation Month that I will never forget.

I’d rather forgive your sins than get your gift certificates but I do promise that if you are so moved, I will also enjoy the fruit of your gift certificates, and do so guilt free. Keep up the great work Todd and Jeff and keep sending us those repentant sinners.

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