Thinking of my mother, as I often do, I always come up with one word that tells her story - GENEROSITY. Then I read in St. Bonaventure Indian Mission and School's newsletter the following and it is a fuller meditation on generosity of spirit. Generosity reminds us that we are more than our problems. - Gayle Feick, parishioner Philanthropy is by no means a new concept. But it is a fragile one. The origin of the word philanthropy dates back to ancient Greek mythology, where it said the Titan Prometheus secured the survival of the earliest humans by empowering them with the gifts of fire and optimism. And so, philantropia or "the love of humanity was born". To varying degrees, philanthropy has continued to exist as one of the cornerstones of civilized society throughout modern history. The idea of loving ALL humanity being a critical starting point for how laws are created and those in power govern. As I write this article, the final version of The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is being hammered out in Conference Committee. Many in the nonprofit world worry changes proposed in the legislation will have the unintended consequence of doing away with incentives for making tax-deductible gifts. Fire and optimism are needed once more. You and I know the act of philanthropy, today, is as much about our own deep-rooted need to be part of the greater good as it is about improving the quality of life of those in desperate need of our help. As Christians, we call this fire the Gospel. It is a fire that burns intensely in our hearts, and one we hope radiates the Love of God brightly to all those we encounter.
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In remembrance of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., I offer the following words from the book of the prophet Micah chapter 6, verse 8: "He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of YOU but to do JUSTICE, and to love KINDNESS, and to walk humbly with your GOD?" How will WE respond to this question? Barbara Carbonneau, Lay minister
The Collect for use on the Feast of Martin Luther King, Jr. Civil Rights Leader and Martyr, 1968 Almighty God, by the hand of Moses your servant you led your people out of slavery, and made them free at last: Grant that your Church, following the example of your prophet Martin Luther King, may resist oppression in the name of your love, and may secure for all your children the blessed liberty of the Gospel of Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
January 15th is the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday. The Episcopal Church commemorates him either on January 15th or April 4th. Even as a child, I was very interested in Rev. King because of his leadership in the Civil Rights movement, his courage, his nonviolent approach, and his obvious love for all. As a follower of Christ, he felt called by Jesus to work for justice for all. Today and next Sunday, the Gospel lessons are about Jesus calling his disciples to follow him. How are you answering Jesus' call to you? How are you living your life as his disciple? Is there anything you feel called to do or say to work for justice for all? Is there anything you feel called to do or say in order to show love for all? Pondering these questions might bring some clarity and energy to your discipleship. Peace, Nancy Rector, St. Matthew's Church
"Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love." Mother Teresa One of my favorite quotes. I try to think - there are so many, many small things I can do that start that ripple of God's love to spread. A smile, kind word, keeping quiet when I am mad and counting to ten, a hug, offer to help, respect others...I am sure you have yours too. In reality, when we all think back on life's events- it ends up being those small offerings of love given to us that we remember most of all and carry us. So I am thanking God for this day and the chances I have all day to do small things with great love - God's love. Natalie Sennett (reprinted from January 2015)
And God said, "Let there be lights in the dome of the sky to separate the day from the night; and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years, and let them be lights in the dome of the sky to give light upon the earth." And it was so. God made the two great lights-the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night-and the stars. God set them in the dome of the sky to give light upon the earth, to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. Genesis 1:14-18 These crisp, cold, New England nights provide some the best star gazing opportunities of the entire year. If you don't have a telescope, grab some binoculars or just sit back and view the heavens with the eyes God gave you. You will be treated to a wonderful view of constellations, stars, moons, nebulas, planets and galaxies. Just be sure to bundle up well as you ponder the vastness of God's creation. Leo Steffens, Vestry Member (Reprinted from January 2014)
Joe Bonamassa is a blues musician I have been following recently. In his song - Asking Around for You, the chorus proceeds: "If I get to heaven, the first thing I'll do Before I meet my maker I'm gonna ask around for you." When you get to heaven, who are you going to look for? As I make my list, I wonder are they waiting for me to ask? Do my loved ones who have preceded me hear me now? Are they sitting in a bright light at the end of a tunnel? Or in the scene of a grand master's painting? Does Heaven really look like Earth? Or are souls floating in pastel colored space Drinking the bright light of our Lord and Saviour? Take some time today, consider what you expect Heaven to Look like, Feel like, Smell like, Sound like. Is it a different experience for different souls? As you ponder these questions, allow prayer to enter your thoughts, Remember those who have departed this world. Those who may not be here long. You may find answers from within, or find the encouragement to ask, Or read, or even stump the Rector. I am just glad of God's promise to bring us to Heaven whether it matches my dreams, or St Paul's. Randy Cheyne Vestry Member (Reprinted from January 2014)
"...I was a stranger and you welcomed me..." Matthew 25:35 St. Matthew's welcomes many into its fold not just on Sundays but almost any day of the week at one program, service or ministry. One way we welcome strangers is at the Community Clothing Center when those known and unknown to us donate clothing and small housewares, shop and volunteer. We sometimes have young people who have disabilities or others who are assigned to perform community service. But whatever brings strangers to our door, they are welcomed in and soon become strangers no more. Joan Alayne Stevens Parishioner
Blessing What you're searching for, you already know. God has blessed us with this amazing life, with eyes to see, ears to hear, a mind to discern, and a heart in which to perceive the living presence of God in our midst. - Br. Jim Woodrum Society of Saint John the Evangelist
Our Presiding Bishop Michael Curry read this poem by Howard Thurman in his recent Christmas message. Now that the Christmas season is over and Epiphany has begun, I felt it appropriate to share: The Work of Christmas When the song of the angels is stilled, When the star in the sky is gone, When the kings and the princes are home, When the shepherds are back with their flock, The work of Christmas begins: To find the lost, To heal the broken, To feed the hungry, To release the prisoner, To rebuild the nations, To bring peace among brothers, To make music in the heart. - Howard Thurman