Saturday, 25 June 2016

Generosity - sermon June 26

2 Corinthians 8:1-15

Well – what a strange week we have had!
I did not believe it could happen – but it did.
In fact two major things happened – one personal, one national.

The thing that has rocked our world this week, is of course the result of the referendum and the subsequent fall out across the world.
I am not going to make any political statement about it but I am going to reflect on what we do now.
The world has changed because of the results that came in over Thursday into Friday.
And as ever, the collision of lectionary and real life, the real world seems to be able to speak to us.
Generosity: giving out of what we have – wealth or poverty.
Getting on and finishing the work.
And not counting the cost.

Two years ago, after that other referendum we had to pick up and move on some elated and others bitterly disappointed; and here we are again, picking up and moving on, some elated and others bitterly disappointed.
Now is not time for recriminations but instead a time for unity; for looking forward and hoping against hope that good will come as stability is restored.
Because stability WILL be restored, it will take time and considerable effort, and I do not doubt there will be much turmoil in the interim. But what we need to do now is look forward, pray for unity, pray for peace and acceptance and pray that out of this will come new strength and new hope.
As Christians we have a job to do; Paul puts it this way when talking to the Corinthians –
God’s grace can accomplish much;
Give yourself to God; then give yourself to the community.
Your richness comes from: faith, speech, knowledge, eagerness to help and love.
He exhorts them to help those who have less, or are less able.

And most of all to finish the work – to finish what was started.
We cannot know what the future will bring; but we can determine how we work within it.

On a personal level this week was tumultuous too; after six years and one month of knowing Alastair, he moved from being my fiancé to being my husband. Friday was quite the day!

The world moves on; life goes on.
Politicians will keep making bold statements and then trying to stand by them; or wriggle out of them; or declare that we have misunderstood their intent.
People will keep going the extra mile for friends, and colleagues and family and total strangers.
I believe
I still believe that the world is inherently good.
That people are inherently kind
That it is in our nature to seek the good, the kind and the hopeful.
The prophet Jeremiah received a vision from God and this is what God told him:
“I alone know the plans I have for you, plans to bring you prosperity and not disaster, plans to bring about the future you hope for.  Then you will call to me. You will come and pray to me, and I will answer you.  You will seek me, and you will find me because you will seek me with all your heart.” (Jer 29:11-13)

Those who listen for God’s word; for God’s vision
Those who live out and live within God’s word
Those who strive to be generous in their giving – of money yes, but more than that – giving of ourselves
Giving without counting
Giving support, kindness, compassion and love
Those who do these thing; are God’s people
We follow God
We follow Jesus  
We do our best to live faithful lives; generous and kind and loving.
And finishing what we begin.
Praise God!
God knows the plans – we may not – but that is ok – because God has this.
And God we can trust.

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