Offertory Prayer

Invitation to the Offering
The offering you made last week empowered ministry within our congregation and in response to the needs of our community. It also helped support the work of ministries beyond the local church that reach people who are in desperate need to feel the touch of love and reconciliation. Through the Episcopal Fund, your church not only supports the Bishop who serves your conference, but the global work of our United Methodist episcopal leaders. Your giving makes possible their witness for the whole church in many areas including evangelism, justice ministries, global health and working with the world’s poor. This ministry happens thanks to the generous support of United Methodists like you. I invite you once again to give generously as we worship God through the sharing of our gifts, tithes and offerings.

Learn more about the work of the Council of Bishops of the UMC at: http://www.umc.org/who-we-are/council-of-bishops

August 24, 2014 -- Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost/in Kingdomtide
Almighty and merciful God, as we give our tithes and offerings this morning, we are reminded that it is here that the relationships of our hearts and our connection to the material world intersect. You have called us into the world, into its need, its suffering, its injustice, and its pain; not to be claimed by the world, but as those claimed by you to be agents of change and transformation and healing in the world. So use not only these gifts, these dollars we offer, but use us. Use our hands, use our feet, use our voices, and use our hearts to shape the world for which you long. We pray in the blessed name of Jesus, our Rock and our Redeemer. Amen. (Romans 12:1-8)
(Genesis 45:1-15)

"Prayers by Ken Sloan. Copyright General Board of Discipleship. www.GBOD.org Used by permission."

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Need and abundance, a Reflection on 2 Corinthians 8:7-15

There's a lot of poor people in the world. And there's a lot of the rest of us that don't think of ourselves as being all that rich. Paul told the Corinthians that they were supposed to give gifts relative to what they had. "It's only fair that those of you that have anything should be willing to share it," he said.

The United Methodist Church asks Can we feed the world?
One in ten households in the U.S. lives with hunger, or is at risk of hunger. Around the world, almost a billion people go hungry.

That website includes links to other related stories: gleaning, biotechnology, reasons for hope, and Biblical ethics.

Ekklesia
reports that Rich countries have snubbed poor. What would Paul say to us?

3 comments:

earl said...

There is no good reason for anyone to be hungry. The only thing necessary to stop hunger is a massive reordering of structures for control, administration and distribution of resources. The only way that will occur is to win lost men and women to Christ as Savior and Lord. Only by a serious commitment to Christ will people be willing to forgo their own personal prerogatives of ownership, profit, etc. Such benevolence can not be compelled by any socialist or communist structure. But within a free market structure, men and women made free in Christ could manage it. The solution to hunger is not legislation but evangelism.

Una Malachica said...

thanks, earl, for your thoughtful response, but i'm not clear at all what you mean by "a massive reordering of structures for control..." are you asserting that this reordering would be voluntary if we would only commit to Christ? i think i would agree with you if that is what you're saying. but, in any case, what are we supposed to do for the hungry while we're working on this conversion thing?

Earl said...

From the north pole to the south pole and all points in between, the one historical constant of the human race is that our heart is desperately wicked. Apart from redemption in Christ, there is no logic by which to suppose that apart from force "a massive reordering of structures for control, administration and distribution of resources (food, fuel, etc.) might be accomplished. Even in the case of such a forcible reordering (ala October 1917), hunger would not be alleviated.

For people to forgo their own rights of ownership, profit, etc., without compensation agreeable to them requires a level of altruistic concern for the welfare of others that can only be motivated by love. Nothing else is sufficient. If political structures such as socialism or communism could have accomplished it, they would have done so. Rather than doing so, they have failed. Self-giving love does not drive either socialism or communism. There the rights of the individual are debased in the name of collective need. There is however such a potential in a free-market economy. Therein people are free to make choices. Acting out of a loving commitment to Christ, people could choose to forgo their rights. It would be their choice. The reordering of society that would follow would be massive. But so would be the benefit to everyone concerned. The answer to hunger is evangelism.