It’s difficult and comforting for me to think about at the same time. Sarah Rand was an unmarried woman wealthy enough in 1875 to be able to deed a house to her church. She had the common sense to know how valuable a minister’s work could be if he was part of the community he served. I imagine the relief of being able to stroll across a yard to a young church in the morning for a Sunday service. What was the alternative? Hmm. Saddling up a horse and riding several miles or more when the earth is hard as iron and water’s like a stone?
Sarah Rand is among the communion of saints now. I think of her choices, thinking of how little we know of her, but of how grateful we are for this one fact—her gift of what we call the Rand House. And now its imminent sale. Those of us present on Sunday, November 10 linked hands and said our prayer of thanks and blessing and stomped our feet in the cold. I’d forgotten my hat, and I think my nose was slightly blue. Virginia had turned our thoughts to Sarah, and I thought of her again—difficult. She is long gone, but she was active once, as we are now, and she reminds me of my mortality. And the thought of her is comforting too, because the good work she did then continues.
The sale is almost complete. Soon St. John’s will have the proceeds of the sale. Money is never just money. We know from our own lives that money can feel like power. Money can feel like security. It can feel like generosity, or freedom, or comfort. Jesus warned us about burying it (Parable of the Talents, Matthew 25:14-30). Well, we have buried some of it already, but our vestry listened, and we turned the money into PVC pipe and hired people to dig a trench for it! So it’s okay.
There are two places where money is irrelevant. One is in our deepest fears. The other is in our greatest loves. What do we love the most?