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Ruth 2:7 She asked permission. 'Let me glean,' she said, 'and gather among
the sheaves following after your harvesters.' She's been at it steady ever
since, from early morning until now, without so much as a break."
Ruth was able to eat because of the generosity of Boaz. All of us are not farmers,
yet we still have fields that we can offer to others for gleaning. Where are
those places in our lives where our hungry neighbors may glean?
For the volunteers of the Society of Saint Andrew (The Potato Project) who have
gleaned over 40 million pounds of food in this state to feed the hungry.
Make an offering of 40 cents, one penny for each million pounds of food that
would have been lost to the hungry except for the love of others.
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Read: Exodus 18:9-12 Jethro was
delighted in all the good that GOD had done for Israel in delivering them from
Egyptian oppression. Jethro said, "Blessed be GOD who has delivered you from
the power of Egypt and Pharaoh, who has delivered his people from the oppression
of Egypt. Now I know that GOD is greater than all gods because he's done this
to all those who treated Israel arrogantly." Jethro, Moses' father-in-law,
brought a Whole-Burnt-Offering and sacrifices to God. And Aaron, along with all
the elders of Israel, came and ate the meal with Moses' father-in-law in the
presence of God.
Oppression comes in many guises. When bills are due, when one is barely making
it, leaving a job to find a job is almost impossible. What do you do when the
bills dont stop and the pay check does? What do you say to your hungry child?
For God, deliverance into a more humane existence, an existence where ones
energy, ones spiritual wholeness is not consumed by fear for ones children, is
always a central issue. God places great importance on abundant life. What
steps might your congregation take to bring about a more abundant life for the
For Olivia who has worked for 9 years
at her current job and still only makes $5.15 per hour.
Make an offering of a nickel for each year Olivia has worked at minimum wage,
give 45 cents.
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Read: Luke 4:18-19 God's Spirit is on
me; he's chosen me to preach the Message of good news to the poor, Sent me to
announce pardon to prisoners and recovery of sight to the blind, To set the
burdened and battered free, to announce, "This is God's year to act!"
The coming of love is always good news. The hope of liberty and the breaking in
of the Acceptable Year, the year of Jubilee, is hope to those for whom hope
seems a bitter mirage. This Sabbath economy of Jesus is always seeking to bring
together those who are socio-economically alienated. As he calls to a
tax-collector, an agent of the occupying government, to leave his tables, he
also appeals Zacchaeus to love through sharing his resource. How can you
practice such Jubilee economics? How can your congregation bring about good
For Mr. and Mrs. Smith, an elderly couple, who eat canned soup as their main
meal each day because that is all they can afford.
Make a gift of 44 cents, the cost of half a can of soup, one meal for Mr. or
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Read: John 13:12-17 After he had
finished washing their feet, he took his robe, put it back on, and went back to
his place at the table. Then he said, "Do you understand what I have done to
you? You address me as 'Teacher' and 'Master,' and rightly so. That is what I
am. So if I, the Master and Teacher, washed your feet, you must now wash each
other's feet. I've laid down a pattern for you. What I've done, you do. I'm
only pointing out the obvious. A servant is not ranked above his master; an
employee doesn't give orders to the employer. If you understand what I'm
telling you, act like it--and live a blessed life.
Jesus connects us in the actions of
his life and calls us to do the same -- to connect with his life through the
gift of ourselves to the other. More, it is here, he says, where we will live
a blessed life. How is your blessing tied to the other? In what ways do you
wash each others feet?
For those folks who bring canned goods
and cereal to their church each week to supply food for the hungry.
Make an offering of 20 cents, one
nickel for each week during the month that hunger is a reality in our state.
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Friday, March 19
Read: Leviticus 23:22 "When you reap
the harvest of your land, don't reap the corners of your field or gather the
gleanings. Leave them for the poor and the foreigners. I am GOD, your God."
We are no longer an agrarian society.
The poor today are usually unwelcome among our metaphorical fields. Space is
rarely given to those who have none of their own. So then, if the poor cannot
afford to purchase space, and if society refuses them space, where do they find
space to live? How can your congregation be about providing space for the
other? What can you do to ease the struggle of those who cant make the
For Joseph who goes from agency to
agency as each month nears its end in search of food for his family.
Make an offering to God of 30 cents, a penny for each day in the month where
food is an issue for the poor, for Joseph, for me and for you.
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Read: Luke 6:20-26 Then he spoke:
You're blessed when you've lost it all. God's kingdom is there for the finding.
You're blessed when you're ravenously hungry. Then you're ready for the
Messianic meal. You're blessed when the tears flow freely. Joy comes with the
"Count yourself blessed every time
someone cuts you down or throws you out, every time someone smears or blackens
your name to discredit me. What it means is that the truth is too close for
comfort and that that person is uncomfortable.
You can be glad when that happens--skip
like a lamb, if you like!--for even though they don't like it, I do . . . and
all heaven applauds. And know that you are in good company; my preachers and
witnesses have always been treated like this.
But it's trouble ahead if you think you
have it made. What you have is all you'll ever get. And it's trouble ahead if
you're satisfied with yourself. Your self will not satisfy you for long. And
it's trouble ahead if you think life's all fun and games. There's suffering to
be met, and you're going to meet it.
"There's trouble ahead when you live
only for the approval of others, saying what flatters them, doing what indulges
them. Popularity contests are not truth contests--look how many scoundrel
preachers were approved by your ancestors! Your task is to be true, not popular.
In Gods upside-down kingdom, it seems
that what would appear to be so, isnt so. It is the poor who are blessed, the
hungry, the weak, those who cannot fend for themselves. It is the wealthy, the
strong, the ones who know they can make it on their own, they are the ones to
whom Jesus shouts, Watch out! As Christians, we are called to live out the
reality of the Kingdom, aligning ourselves with those who are blessed, giving of
our resource, freely and fully, becoming poor ourselves for the sake of the
gospel. What will you do to live into this, the really-real?
For Amanda who watches others eat candy bars as a part of their lunch at
Make an offering of 50 cents, the cost
of a candy bar, so that others may eat.
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