We welcome the raindrops and pray for days of renewal of the earth, our households, and our communities. Just as soon as I say something like that, I can sense a “but, Pastor Katie the rain is ruining our plans to go to…”
Our passage this Sunday from 2 Corinthians 8:7-15 (NIV) has this bold message for you and for me. After Paul encourages us as faithful people of Christ, he says, “see that you also excel in this grace of giving.” Meaning, imaging and addressing the needs of others is our witness to God’s gift of grace for you and for me.
Paul continues in the NIV translation and says, “Our desire is not that others might be relieved while you are hard pressed, but that there might be equality.” What a powerful message to say to us this very moment in our time that this isn’t about diminishing one another’s story of joys and/or challenges, but lifting them both up with mutual respect, care, and compassion.
I have this amazing group that I meet with each week, my small group. They are “my people” in this place and time who not only share their stories, they listen to my own. I feel safe in this group to discuss but also not feel obligated to solve personal or world issues. The way I see it, “we are holding one another’s story today.” The greatest gift we can give to one another is our time, our fully listening ears, our commitment to be compassionate and to hold one another’s story. In this, as individuals and as a group, we have equality.
Paul completes the passage for this Sunday with, “The goal is equality, as it is written; The one who gathered much did not have too much, and the one who gathered little did not have too little.” We may read this to mean a political movement. Maybe it could be and should be read in that context. But what I hear in this space and time is our need, our want, and our calling to listen to one another and demonstrate compassion for all of God’s children with equal dignity, respect, and honor. How we could change our everyday conversations if we looked at one another without categorizing or assuming, but fully listened and held one another's story, including the center of each story our personal hurts, joys, and challenges?
Beloved children of God, we know we are created and inspired to grow in our relationship with God and with one another. What is the best way to take steps forward in our growth? By engaging in worship, sign up to serve as an usher/greeter/praise team or tech team. Sign your children and youth up for VBS/Day Camp, or helping with the many projects at Holy Trinity including crafts and quilting. What ways are stirring your heart right now to share in the Good News that we are loved and forgiven by a gracious God?
Blessings to you always,