A Pause In Lent No 2 – Generosity

So, here we have a rather frustrated Dormouse (see earlier post) trying to remember what it was she said, because, actually she was quite pleased with it……..and –BREATHE!

This week, I have been (on and off) thinking about the first chapter of “A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23” which I’ve chosen as my Lent reading. I’m not sure I’m keen on the author’s style – although it is a little harsh to make such a judgement after just one chapter!

In the first chapter Keller looks at the theme “The Lord is my Shepherd” – he talks about how the demeanour of the flock can demonstrate what kind of shepherd it is who owns those sheep. A well loved flock are fat, and content, and not cowed by their surroundings; a flock with a shepherd who does not care are thin, down beaten and afraid. I’m not too sure that I am very good at showing what kind of Shepherd I am owned by – perhaps I am like a sheep who has been bought from a harsher shepherd, and I haven’t quite learned that my new Master is different. If I can learn to have more confidence in him, then I would lose my fear of what He might ask me to do.

Another thing that Keller mentioned was how it is customary for shepherds to mark their sheep in some way, often by clipping their ear. This shows who is the Owner of the sheep, who has purchased the sheep. I have been purchased with the blood of Christ – he paid a great price for me – and so I’ve decided that I will wear something that declares who is my Shepherd. I will wear a cross around my neck. Now I realise that this isn’t very radical, and many people won’t even notice it, because for them it is simply a piece of jewellery. But, at the moment, it’s not for them; it’s for me. It is to remind ME  who my Shepherd is, it’s to remind ME of the price that he paid so that I  might be part of his flock.

I am lucky enough to own many crosses, all with a different meaning for me, all special for different reasons. So I thought I’d share with you some of these.

I don’t wear this cross very often, as it’s quite large – 4 cm  – but it is special, because I bought it on the day I was licensed, in ChristChurch Cathedral, Oxford, as a Licensed Lay Minister in the diocese. This was in October 1996, and the cross was a birthday/Licensing gift from Mr D. I used to wear it when I robed to preach – rather like a Bishop’s pectoral cross! – but now, when I preach at church, I certainly don’t robe. And my License in the UK has expired…but it reminds me of a very important day and a special ministry that I had for 9 years in Milton Keynes.

And now we come to the second of Floss’s Cardinal Virtues – well, not hers, you understand (!) but the list that we are using as inspiration for posts throughout Lent. And today’s theme is “Generosity – the Pursuit of Charity”. Actually, I don’t really know quite what to write, but while I was “researching” (that is, trawling the Internet to get a good idea!) I came across a variety of quotations, which actually, I think, are thought provoking enough by themselves… (all the quotations are either from Wikipedia or from the website of The Science of Generosity )

  • Generosity is not solely based on one’s economic status, but instead, includes the individual’s pure intentions of looking out for society’s common good and giving from the heart.

SOURCE

  • Generosity is the habit of giving freely without expecting anything in return.

SOURCE

  • …more liberal giving could accomplish world-transforming change…

 

  • Generosity always intends to enhance the true wellbeing of those to whom it gives.

SOURCE

  • What exactly generosity gives can be various things: money, possessions, time, attention, aid, encouragement, emotional availability, and more.

SOURCE

  • The Quran states that whatever we give away generously, with the intention of pleasing God, He will replace it. God knows what is in the hearts of men. Say: “….whatsoever you spend of anything (in God’s Cause), He will replace it. And He is the Best of providers.” (Quran 34:39)

SOURCE

  • For Christians, to be generous is to be conformed not just to Christ but also to the loving divine Parent, whose sacrificial self-gift into the world makes possible human fellowship in the divine life; “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).

SOURCE

And there we are, back to the beginning: my demeanour should reflect that of my Shepherd.

 

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6 Responses to “A Pause In Lent No 2 – Generosity”

  1. FionaK Says:

    A thought provoking post!

  2. Floss Says:

    It seems you made a pretty good recovery after your incredibly irritating loss – well done for reproducing it all again! I’ve chosen Kindness today, and I really like the way that reading your thoughts about Generosity tie in to what I’ve been thinking – thank you! I stopped wearing crosses when I came to France, I have to admit. I know I’m not (technically) allowed into the boys’ school while wearing one. I shall have to pray about this.

  3. Pom Pom Says:

    Hi Mouse!
    I’m sorry you lost your first go at the second Pause in Lent. I do not know why that happens.
    Thank you for your post. I liked reading the story of the cross you picture.
    I am thinking about the healthy state of my soul because I have such a loving Shepherd.
    God be with you.

  4. magsmcc Says:

    I have a Huguenot cross that I wear sometimes, and have one as a car sticker- that’s a long story! Generosity- much food for thought tonight. Thank you for feeding us, like a Shepherd yourself!

  5. Carolyn Phillips Says:

    Very thought provoking. Thank you.

  6. Betty the wood fairy Says:

    I enjoyed your post (and smirked at your comment on the loss of the previous post! – blogger is doing weird stuff to me too). I don’t have a cross to wear but made a little cross from twigs for Lent and have been surprised how often my attention is drawn to it.