generosity goes where it is needed #40acts

generosity goes where it is needed #40acts

Sometimes I have trouble letting go of a plan. The idea was to share home baked goods with our community. Worshippers would bake and we would offer #40acts of generosity out into the community. That’s what we told people we were doing. We had a plan. We even had a press release. It was going to be a great kick off on Ash Wednesday. Then, a family from the community, but not our congregation, wanted a funeral at our church. We inadvertently told them we would host a reception, even though we don’t have a means to do that when it’s not a regular participant or family member. It was a little hard to let go of our (my) grand scheme, to be honest. But, clearly, the community had come to us. Our home baked goods became a reception for a grieving family. They don’t know about #40acts. They don’t know about being “our community.” They don’t know we did anything special. Maybe we didn’t. We were just generous with what we had. To the people who needed us. From this first day of #40acts I’m going to remember two things: 1) Faith did the right thing and, 2) It took me longer than it should have to accept it as the right...
We need transfiguration.  Even when it is a hard climb.

We need transfiguration. Even when it is a hard climb.

Almost two weeks ago, something transformational happened at Faith Presbyterian Church. The board of deacons had a meeting. They do that every month.  They sat around long white tables in blue plastic chairs.  They approved an agenda and minutes and had a devotional. They do that every month. They had more pieces of white paper in front of them than is good for our budget or the ozone layer.  And they talked about people who worship at Faith.  The board of deacons does that every month. They told each other about the visits, conversations, and communications they had had with those of you who are ill or grieving or asking for prayer, and those of us who aren’t here and can’t get here. They do that every month too, although the names and needs change. Then one deacon after another volunteered to call or visit or to check in on one of you or, two and three and four.  It almost seemed like more of you should be sick or in need, they were so willing. That’s what the board of deacons does now, at every meeting, since September when the board was commissioned to a ministry of caring. Then it was time for the meeting to be over and we stood up to pray.  If I’m there, it is usually my honor to pray for our deacons, but this time I felt like there was such depth and caring, such spirit in that room that I couldn’t be the only one to pray. So, we got out from behind the tables, and we stood in a little circle,...
How much do you want to love? A little?  Or  a lot?

How much do you want to love? A little? Or a lot?

The gospel writer Luke tells a story in which there are three main characters.  Or maybe more. It’s the story of a dinner party that gets interrupted by an outlandish, lavish display of love when a nameless woman washes the feet of Jesus. One character is the host of the dinner party.  He is a Pharisee, named Simon.  The Pharisees, along with priests and elders are leaders in the Jewish religious community. Simon the Pharisee has invited Jesus to come to this dinner party in Simon’s home.  Simon treats Jesus like an honored guest in some ways.  In other ways, Simon has been quite disrespectful to Jesus.  We will hear more about later. The other main character in this story is a woman.  She must have come in as part of the community that would be looking for handouts.  She is known to the host and the guests, and apparently to Jesus.  No one gives her name.  She is just called a “sinner.” What shocks Simon is not the behavior of the woman.  What shocks Simon is the reaction of Jesus. Simon thinks to himself, if Jesus were really a prophet, Jesus would know this woman was a sinner, and he would not let himself be touched by her. Jesus compares the woman’s actions to Simon’s.  Despite inviting Jesus to his home – Simon didn’t offer the customary hospitality.  Simon didn’t have to wash Jesus’ feet with his tears, his hair, apply ointment.  He just needed to greet Jesus at the door and make sure someone – even a servant – washed his feet and oiled his head and...