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Week 4

 

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Monday, March 15

 

Read:  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."

 

Consider:  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? 

 

Pray:  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. 

 

Action:  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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Tuesday, March 16

 

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.

 

Consider:  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 don’t 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 one’s energy, one’s spiritual wholeness is not consumed by fear for one’s 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 other? 

 

Pray:  For Olivia who has worked for 9 years at her current job and still only makes $5.15 per hour. 

 

Action:  Make an offering of a nickel for each year Olivia has worked at minimum wage, give 45 cents. 

 

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Wednesday, March 17

 

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!"

 

Consider:  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 news? 

 

Pray:  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. 

 

Action:  Make a gift of 44 cents, the cost of half a can of soup, one meal for Mr. or Mrs. Smith. 

 

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Thursday, March 18

 

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.

 

Consider:  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 other’s feet?”     

 

Pray:  For those folks who bring canned goods and cereal to their church each week to supply food for the hungry. 

 

Action:  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."

 

Consider:  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 can’t “make the month.” 

 

Pray:  For Joseph who goes from agency to agency as each month nears its end in search of food for his family. 

 

Action:  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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Saturday, March 20

 

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 morning.

"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.

  

Consider:  In God’s upside-down kingdom, it seems that what would appear to be so, isn’t 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 one’s 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? 

 

Pray:  For Amanda who watches others eat candy bars as a part of their lunch at school. 

 

Action:  Make an offering of 50 cents, the cost of a candy bar, so that others may eat. 

 

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