I returned from church last Sunday lunchtime having chaired a productive PCC meeting and looking forward to a family meal. Before entering the front door, I saw a paper bag with gifts inside. Curious to know which of the children had received a late birthday present, I looked inside. The card was addressed to me. I was so touched by the note in the card and the generosity of the gifts – yummy biscuits and a bag of coffee – that I was inspired to write about generosity in this week’s blog.
The giver had signed up to the Lenten challenge called 40acts. This is a scheme which motivates Christians to do more than simply give stuff up in Lent. 40acts promotes radical generosity by motivating Christians to give a generous act of loving kindness each day of Lent (excluding the Feast of Sunday). I was a beneficiary of a radically generous act. The note said something that I was hungry to hear, I needed the validation that it gave for many reasons. The giver might not necessarily have known how wonderful the gift was to receive. It was an anonymous gift, the only clue being the motif signature,”40acts.”
The Christian faith is one which combines word and deed. When we give generously in word and deed we become more Christ-like and therefore more like God. Simple acts of human kindness are not the exclusive domain of religions. However, it seems to go with the territory. The exemplar of the Christ-life, Jesus, displayed the most beautiful forms of human kindness. These were expressed in his compassion – being present in the face of pain, in his graceful understanding of the human condition -extending forgiveness, and his intentionality of living out his prayer-life in action. Kindness is therefore a trait of divine love. Many of those who dispense radical acts of generosity might not even know that their gift is heavenly. It is important that they are made aware of their beauty and value.
So, thank you to the person who shared this vision of generosity with me last Sunday. Your act of kindness will stay with me throughout this Lent and beyond. This is a hard journey that we walk and we need the support and prayers of one another. We travel from the wilderness to the cross; from the tomb to the garden. During this pilgrimage we will need to give and receive radical acts of generosity. Thank you for supporting me in my pilgrimage!
A Threshold Update
We are nearly there, taking possession of the narthex in just over a week. Please know that you are invited to share the excitement of the completion of the church over 100 years after the first stone was laid! The extension will be blessed by the Bishop of Oxford, Stephen Croft on Sunday 22nd April. If you can’t wait until then, please take up this invitation to your church.
AN INVITATION TO CHORAL EVENSONG
Introit: Locus Iste (Bruckner)
Responses: Smith (5-part)
Canticles: Stanford in G
Anthem: O Lord the maker of all thing (Joubert)
The Vicar and Churchwardens of St Michael & All Angels, Summertown
invite you to celebrate the completion of the Threshold Project.
Refreshments will be served after the service with a tour of the new facilities.
St Michael & All Angels Church, Lonsdale Road, Summertown
Sunday, 18th March 2018, 6.30pm
Sunday services: 8am Holy Eucharist; 10am Parish Eucharist (with children’s church); 6.30pm Contemplative Prayer.
No matter where you are on the journey of faith, you are always welcome at St Michael & All Angels! Click here for news and the Sunday readings sheet.