Part of that "not wanting to let go" is a sense that the passage has a lot of application to us at this point in our lives at St. Edward's. I think that there is a huge temptation to follow the world's example and tighten our belts financially, hold out collective breath, protect what we have, and hope that things get better. Essentially, to bury our talent in the ground so that we'll at least have that in the end. I also think that is a fearful, not a faithful, response and a sure recipe for institutional death.
I managed to touch a bit on it in my sermon, but newly-consecrated Bishop Mariann Edgar Budde's first sermon as Bishop of Washington (DC area) said it much better than I could. Go ahead and read the sermon. Or listen to it. Here is how she ends it:
This is our life. This is our Church. We are a unique expression of God’s creative genius. Never doubt the importance of what you are doing, and what we are doing on earth.This is likely what St. Paul had in mind when he wrote to the Thessalonians: "Therefore encourage one another and build up each other, as indeed you are doing."
I believe that, through this Gospel passage, God is calling us as a community to choose to move forward and risk what we have in faith rather than to shrink back and bury what we have in order not to lose it, or lose it any faster than necessary. This will not be an easy task. We are naturally a risk-averse people, and many of our congregation have a significant financial, emotional, and spiritual investment in St. Edward's. But we cannot go back. We cannot recapture any sort of glory days of half a century ago. And there is no point in wishing for more money, more people, more of anything we don't currently have. As Bishop Budde said at Washington National Cathedral, I say to you: "This is our life. This is our Church. We are a unique expression of God's creative genius. Never doubt the importance of what you are doing, and what we are doing on earth."
Never doubt the importance of what God will do through us, either....