At the Harvest Thanksgiving service on 6 October we hope to present a summary of progress so far on this organ fund-raising scheme; please will all participants let Mick Polley have details of what has been raised to date.
Cash can be handed at any time to him or another Churchwarden, or to the Parish Office.
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Giving is good for the soul. It releases the deathly grip that money can exercise over us. It frees us from the love of money, “the root of all evil” (1 Timothy 6:10), and it frees us from the fear of losing it or not having it. That is why Jesus is reported to have said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). We all know how great it feels to receive an inheritance, a salary/wage packet, or a gift. Well, how do you feel when there is the opportunity to give?
Nobody is meant to press gang you into giving, whether by using bible texts or moral blackmail or any other pressurising tactics. There is no law about giving. In the Old Testament there were laws about giving, including tithing. But these were blunt and somewhat unfair laws. The New Testament principle is that giving is to be freely and generously done. The guidance is that the more we have the more we give and vice versa.
The worst thing is to give from inferior motives. St Paul made this plain in his well known passage on ‘love’. He wrote, “If I give away all I have … but have not love, I gain nothing” (1 Cor. 13:3). We will never find it more blessed to give if our motivation is not love.
It is the Spirit of God who gives us the compassion and the generosity of spirit to give. We will give according to our means and even beyond our means, as did, for example, the churches of Macedonia (2 Cor. 8:1-3). The Spirit will enable us to give not just as a duty but as a joy. That is why today’s reading says that we can give “cheerfully” (v.7). The Greek word gives an even stronger feel: ‘hilariously’! Yes indeed, “God loves a cheerful giver” (v.7).
I believe this abandoned attitude to giving is exemplified in the giving of the widow whom Jesus observed putting her last mite (her all) into the collection plate. In doing this, she gave more than many rich people who put in large sums” (Mark 12:41).
Teach me my Lord to give and not to count the cost. Teach me to give just as you have given to me. Amen.
It is now possible to put your name down at the back of Church for Christianity Explored . Christianity Explored is a course which goes through Christian basics. There will be lots of opportunities to ask any questions about the faith. No one will be made to feel embarrassed or asked to do something they could be uncomfortable with. Each evening will begin with tea and cake and the aim is that it will be informal and very relaxed.
The course lasts six weeks and begins on Wednesday 30th October at 7.30pm.
If you are able to bake a cake for a session and /or would be prepared to stay to help wash up, please add your name to a separate sign up sheet at the back.
Time to get lubricating so everything runs smoothly…and that’s just you! It’s also time to get the bike running nicely as well, if you prefer two wheels to two feet. Yes, this is a quick reminder that “Ride & Stride” time is here again.
The nationally designated day is Saturday, 14th September. So, on that day, the more who can be involved the merrier. Our local church will be open until dusk, and we hope visitors will pay us a call.
And, of course, there is still time for members of our own congregation to decide to take part. If two wheels or your own two feet don’t appeal, there is no reason why you shouldn’t saddle up and ride and stride out on horseback!
The Friends website (www.fscandc.org.uk) has all the details, but a quick reminder that the money which, as a participant, you raise – either as an entrance fee or by sponsorship – will be split between two good causes; one is of your own choosing, and the other is the grant fund from which the Friends support work in our churches.
“Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor” (v.22) RSV
Why should Jesus tell the ‘rich young ruler’ to give away all that he owned? And is he telling us to do the same? Some people have argued that the early Christians sold their possessions and pooled them so that they had ”all things in common” (Acts 2:44). But a closer reading reveals that Peter told them that no one was under any obligation or necessity to do this (Acts 5:4).
Down through the ages some groups of Christians have decided to share their wealth and possession and live in community. Monasteries were based on such a model. Vows of poverty were quite usual. But the Church has never taught that all believers should follow such a practice.
So again I ask, “Why did Jesus tell the rich young ruler to sell all and give the proceeds away?” It seems that this particular young man was suffering from a terminal sickness which is quite common today, namely, addiction to riches. We read that he “was very rich” (v.23).
The only solution to this cancerous growth in his life was amputation. As we have seen previously money is not evil in itself and indeed if rightly viewed and rightly used it is a blessing from God. But this young man had not got the right attitude; he felt he could not live without his wealth. The advice given by Jesus was rejected. The man was sad and so was Jesus.
The great riches had become a curse, destroying life rather than giving life. All of us need to check ourselves from time to time to see if money has got its tentacles wrapped round us too tightly. Like ivy it will gradually squeeze the life out of us. The best cure is to give some money away. You will find it breaks the hold – the spell will dissolve.
If we don’t, then we will find that we are like the camel; we will not be able to pass through the eye of a needle! God will disappear behind a closed door.
Father God, you have been so generous in so many ways. Forgive me when I grab and keep. Deliver me. Amen.
1 What is the description of a man obsessed by wealth?
2 If we do not give but hoard, what is the result?
Through a generous gift, we have the services of a reserve organ. We have been concerned for some time that Father Willis will let us down again. This would be really difficult if it was on Remembrance Sunday, for example, so an alternative organ will be in place as a stand by.
It will be situated next to the high altar rail. This is not ideal but there appears to be no alternative.
We have been granted a temporary faculty for 15 months (renewable).