Rev'd Karen - November 2021
The Vicar’s Light Reflections
Light Reflections… “Let your light shine…” (Matthew 5.16)
Generosity, Gift and Grace
When I last wrote my reflection, it was looking ahead to the Autumn mist and mizzle, and as I sit now, rather damp from a drizzly dog walk, Autumn has truly set in. This was also evident when we had our fabulous Harvest Festivals across the Benefice, when we gave thanks to God for His gracious, generous gifts to us. My heartfelt thanks to all involved in bringing the services together, the 3 wonderful schools and the teams who dressed the churches so beautifully. But crucially, Harvest Thanksgiving isn’t just for Harvest, as my thoughts continue to stay with the important theme of Generosity, Gift and Grace.
Every week, during the Eucharist, at the time of the Offertory, we pray, “Yours Lord, is the greatness, the power, the glory, the splendour, and the majesty; for everything in heaven and earth is yours. All things come from you, and of your own do we give you. Amen.” Let us prayerfully ponder on these words; like all familiar phrases we often, because of repetition, start to not ‘hear’ what we are saying, words can become too familiar, and we can ‘skip’ over the deeper meaning and application of what we are praying.
This short prayer has a deep well of meaning and we should pay attention to the words. We are acknowledging to God Almighty, our Father and Creator that ALL the greatness, power, glory, splendour and majesty of this world is His and belongs to Him. EVERYTHING we see, hear, feel, taste and touch belongs to Him. All material ‘stuff’ is created by God and is of Him and comes from Him. There is NOTHING in the heavenlies or on this earth that does not belong to God; and He in His loving, overwhelming generosity gives this to us. Remember in the Garden of Eden, God gave Adam the charge of caring for His creation “…to till and keep it.” (Genesis 2:15)
So, what does this mean for us; how should we understand these words we pray together and how do we apply them to our lives; our living out of our Christian faith? I have been reflecting on this and what this personally means to me, and I would like to briefly take this opportunity to share my ponderings.
To give, is to give thanks to God, to acknowledge the gift that God gives us and to remember like the ancient Israelites that we are totally dependent on the bounty and faithfulness of God. What I have is not really mine; I am only, like Adam, its custodian. To give out of what God gives me, provides time, talent and money to give back to Him, so that the work of Ministry and Mission can continue to spread the Good News and give God the glory.
Deuteronomy gives a handy calculator of how, tithing, for example meets this need. A ten per cent of the ‘first fruits’ is a time-tested way. I aim to do the same, in a way that works for me; to be split between my three parishes and a Christian Charity of my choice is how I personally will fulfil the Offertory Prayer of ‘..of your own do we give you.’
And I do this, knowing, that I do it in obedience to God and with a joyful and thankful heart; remembering the words that Paul reminds the Church in Corinth, “Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” (2 Corinthians 9:7). My prayer is that we will continue to live out our Harvest Thanksgiving and to talk to God about how we can personally, and as a United Benefice, live out His Generosity, Gift and Grace. “The earth has yielded its increase; God, our God, has blessed us. May God continue to bless us; let all the ends of the earth revere him.” (Psalm 67:6-7)
Rev’d Karen Christ Centered…Kingdom Focused