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Read: John 14:15 "If you love me,
show it by doing what I've told you.
Jesus demonstrates his love for us with
his life, and he calls us to do the same, to open ourselves to the other, to
live in such a way that others might live as well. This is what it means to
love -- reaching out, weeping over, lifting up, struggling for, being with,
caring, bearing, holding, suffering, loving. Jesus loves you, will you love him
For those who have helped the food bank network here distribute over 22 million
pounds of food to feed the hungry.
Action: Give 22 cents to feed hungry
children, one penny for each million pounds of food distributed, one penny for
each million meals.
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Read: John 15:12-15 This is my
command: Love one another the way I loved you. This is the very best way to
love. Put your life on the line for your friends. You are my friends when you
do the things I command you. I'm no longer calling you servants because
servants don't understand what their master is thinking and planning. No, I've
named you friends because I've let you in on everything I've heard from the
In the scheme of things, Jesus
journeys with those who are of low account, the fishermen, the tax-collector,
the zealot, those on the fringes of society, those whom the world dismisses, or
overlooks, or simply takes for granted. They are the ones who do the menial
jobs of our culture, the cooks, cleaning women, the janitors and garbage
collectors. Jesus travels with them, gives his life for them, and then, calls
them friend. Who are your friends? How might you be a friend to Jesus?
For Mr. Almeida who shares his only sandwich with a friend waiting in line with
him to find work.
Make an offering of 14 cents, it wont
buy a sandwich, but at the food bank, it will buy a pound of food.
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Read: Psalms 126:1-6 A pilgrim song.
It seemed like a dream, too good to be true, when GOD returned Zion's exiles. We
laughed, we sang, we couldn't believe our good fortune. We were the talk of the
nations-- "GOD was wonderful to them!" GOD was wonderful to us; we are one happy
people. And now, GOD, do it again-- bring rains to our drought-stricken lives So
those who planted their crops in despair will shout hurrahs at the harvest, So
those who went off with heavy hearts will come home laughing, with armloads of
For so many of our poor neighbors,
drought is not a passing season, drought is a life circumstance, a constant
reality that always makes life a struggle. Drought is the reality of education
systems which relegate the poor to the bottom line. Drought is a place where
lives become a statistic. Drought is another empty promise. Drought is never
having enough of anything but heartache and more poverty. How can we be the
rain? How do we help God to do it again?
For those who walk in CROP Walks each
year so that others may eat.
Give two bits for the rain, 25 cents to paint a rainbow.
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Read: Luke 2:5-7 He went with Mary,
his fiancÚ, who was pregnant. While they were there, the time came for her to
give birth. She gave birth to a son, her firstborn. She wrapped him in a blanket
and laid him in a manger, because there was no room in the hostel.
A poor infant lying in a food trough,
born to peasant parents in a place they did not call home. The savior of the
world comes as powerlessness. Aside from our accomplishments, aside from how we
have made it, there in the darkness of night when we know the truth, when we
know our own mortality, we too might find that little powerless Jesus that
dwells in each of us. It is that Jesus, who connects us with the brokenness of
the world, with those who stand in lines, with those for whom there is no bed,
with those who are handed life with few options, few choices. How will you love
this infant, how will you love those who stand in line? Can you embrace that
powerless little Christ in you?
For those who stand in line to receive food baskets to feed their families
during the holiday seasons.
Provide a gift of 12 cents, so that others might eat during the days of
Read: 1 Peter 1:17 You call out to
God for help and he helps--he's a good Father that way. But don't forget, he's
also a responsible Father, and won't let you get by with sloppy living. Your
life is a journey you must travel with a deep consciousness of God.
The journey of the poor is often a
journey of feet on dirt. Even here in this nation of abundance, in a place
where almost everyone rides, the poor continue to walk. Broken cars, too
expensive insurance, high fuel prices. The poor know what it means to be
constantly connected with the mud and the muck, the filth of the gutter, and the
refuse of the street. Jesus walked too and he continues to call us to this walk
of incarnation, proclaiming life on earth as it is in heaven. What journey do
we choose? How can we walk with those who have no choice but to walk?
For Miss Emily who walks to the grocery each afternoon to see which perishables
have been marked down.
Make a gift of 35 cents, seven
nickels, one for each day that Miss Emily walks.
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Read: Job 24:2-7, 22-24 There are people out
there getting by with murder-- stealing and lying and cheating. They rip off the
poor and exploit the unfortunate, Push the helpless into the ditch, bully the
weak so that they fear for their lives. The poor, like stray dogs and cats,
scavenge for food in back alleys. They sort through the garbage of the rich, eke
out survival on handouts. Homeless, they shiver through cold nights on the
street; they've no place to lay their heads.
However much they strut and flex
their muscles, there's nothing to them. They're hollow. They may have an
illusion of security, but God has his eye on them. They may get their brief
successes, but then it's over, nothing to show for it. Like yesterday's
newspaper, they're used to wrap up the garbage.
Free enterprise, the right to make
money, the ability to offer almost any product if there are those willing
enough, or ignorant enough, or desperate enough to buy it, make all you can
buyer beware this is the mantra of a market system that does not consider
Kingdom economics. In our society there is a whole industry that preys on the
poor, the desperate, and the disenfranchised. The market for auto loans to
high-risk borrowers have become crowded with Wall Street companies eager to reap
profits from loans with interest rates of 25% or more. Rent-to-own stores sell
TVs and furniture on weekly and monthly installment plans at prices that equal
interest rates of 100, 200, even 300 percent. Trade schools and banks have
earned billions by peddling the dream of good jobs to high-school dropouts.
They take advantage of easy access to federal student-loan money by running or
financing sham schools that do little to educate and leave students with ruined
credit and big loan debt. Banks have left poor and struggling neighborhoods
mirroring the actions of main-line religious denominations. As the adage goes,
its costly to be poor. Yet, in Gods realm, in the really-real, justice IS.
The question is this, where do we align ourselves? What can you and your church
do to work for justice?
For Mr. Harris who goes to bed very
early to keep warm. No bank would loan him funds to repair his home but a
credit company would. His roof doesnt leak, but now he pays excessive interest
rates leaving him no funds for heat.
Make an offering of 27 cents, a typical interest rate for poor folks.
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