It’s one of those stories that whenever you hear it you can’t help but be challenged. The one where the rich person drops some money in the collection box, then along comes a poor widow who puts only two pennies in. Jesus asks the people who gave the most? The answer is found in Mark 12:38-44, the biblical passage and we'll be looking at together in our worship service this coming Sunday. (Last weeks sermon “The Most Important Thing” can be found here)
Here at Mount Hebron Presbyterian we are in the middle of our Stewardship season. The lectionary passage for the day reminds us that however we give, it's not about portions. So what it is about? Well… … mostly... THANKSGIVING! (Which conveniently is also the next celebration that will gather families together across the nation). And most of us have a lot to be thankful for.
- as may have been the case with the widow…
- or certainly was the case with the prophet Habakkuk who declared the crops had failed and the cattle had died… (see Habakkuk 3:17-19)
- and even those hardy pilgrims who after sailing on the
Mayflower faced trouble, trouble and more trouble… still we are
invited to join with the prophets prayer...
"Yet, I will exult in the Lord, I will be thankful, I will rejoice in the God of my salvation.
The Lord God is my strength."
Giving is a spiritual practice and an expression of a life that knows itself touched by the Grace of God. It is not a duty but a delight. It is not a requirement but a heart response to the love of God. It’s not about ‘making a donation’ but has everything to do with ‘overflowing with thankfulness.’
November 11 2018 also marks the one hundreth anniversary of the first World War which came to an end "at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month." In many countries they will observe a minutes silence at 11:00 a.m. to remember the end of the war and to honor those who died. We also will observe a time of silence to honor veterans of all conflicts during our prayer time in morning worship.
A part of many remembrance services in the U.K. are words from the poem “For the Fallen” written by Robert Laurence Binyon (1869-1943), and published in “The Times” newspaper on 21 September 1914. “They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old: Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun and in the morning, We will remember them.”
The poem was written in mid September 1914, a few weeks after the outbreak of the First World War. During these weeks the British Expeditionary Force suffered great casualties following its first encounter with the Imperial German Army.
For some music “Letters of War” by Mark Schultz.
Jesus once said, “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one's life for one's friends.” (John 15:13) As we recall the sacrifices others have made for our freedoms, the tenacity of pilgrims and the example of the widow Jesus spoke of in the temple, surely we have cause to overflow with thanksgiving!
Prayer: Lord, in my heart of hearts I know I have so much to be thankful for. Help me to express my thanksgiving in ways that bring joy to others and which help to grow Your Kingdom. Teach me to be a faithful steward of all that You have blessed my life with. Amen.
The Reverend Adrian J Pratt B.D.