Gifts IN the World..
FOR the World!!!!
It IS a big world out there.. a big world with all kinds of joys AND all kinds of deep sorrows.. a big world with all kinds of beauty AND all kinds of struggles. And as this “meme” that popped up on my feed this morning reminds us, there is no getting around the calling we all live under to be in touch with, engaged with, and in love with that world. Indeed, in addition to the unfathomable grace and love FOR US that Jesus came into the world to incarnate and proclaim to us.. the most clear “commandment” that Jesus longs for us to live into is “simply” that we are to “love one another” – just as unconditionally and without limit.
Every week, as part of our Sunday worship we give an “offering” – a sign of the gratitude for grace we feel and of the commitment we make to being God’s people actively involved in that big world. For now we gather that offering in a few simple baskets (a Biblical image all its own) after which it is quickly whisked off to be put in the safe to be counted. And often that is the most we think about it.
At a church I once visited for a conference – as I came through the back doors – I noticed a set of globes cut in half waiting on the back table. What they were for was only answered when (at the time of the “collection”) it was those half globes that were passed around as offering plates. And the symbolism was (for me) suddenly clear and powerful – a reminder that what we give in that offering is not JUST to keep the lights on but so too to help us be what God calls us to be IN THE WORLD.
While a portion of the money we give every Sunday most certainly does go to the more boring stuff like… power bills, building maintenance, etc. the larger point of that offering is that we use it for ministry.. for work!!!! We use it to be a force of good in the world.. to be seeders of healing and hope in the world.. to be a voice of welcome and grace to the world. We use it to be people/a church who are actively committed to “loving one another” (the world) in any and every way we can creatively and faithfully imagine possible.
So… is there any chance two or three of you out there have an old globe kicking around your basement??? I would really love it if you could donate it so that we could introduce a similar practice here at Bread of Life (collecting the money we give FOR the world literally IN the world). To be clear… you won’t get it back as I am going to cut them in half. If you do have one drop it off in Pastor Stewart’s office or give me a shout and I will pop by to pick it up. Thanks in advance!!!