Hymn- Jesus Loves Me
If you would prefer to listen to Hannah’s sermon rather than read it, tune into the Quaker Hour on WALH radio at 10 am or at 3 pm.
If you feel led to continue contributing financially to Ada Chapel during this time that we are not meeting, please mail offerings to our treasurer at 2418 Wilson Rd. Wilmington, OH 45177.
Wilmington Yearly Meeting has decided not to hold this summer’s yearly meeting sessions in person, but to hold them via Zoom. Yearly meeting sessions are July 23-26, 2020. As we receive more information about the schedule, we will announce it.
Drum roll please……Ada Chapel is going to restart in-person worship, starting on Sunday, July 5! Here is what you need to know about re-opening:
1.) Friends should not feel pressured to return to meeting if they are not comfortable doing so. Worship will continue to be posted every week on the Ada Chapel blog for Friends who wish to continue worshiping at home.
2.) If you are not feeling well on any given Sunday morning, please stay home. We want to protect those among us who are high-risk.
3.) Masks will not be required, but if you have been wearing one regularly, wearing it to worship is encouraged.
4.) There will be hand sanitizer and Clorox wipes set up throughout the meetinghouse so that Friends can sanitize their hands, and so that we can wipe down common surfaces, such as hand rails, pews, and hymnals.
5.) Friends must spread out in the pews. Sitting in family units is fine, but leave some space between your family and the next family.
6.) Friends must be respectful of other Friends’ space. Congregating after worship, hugging, shaking hands, close talking, etc. is discouraged.
Our country. All those who are in harm’s way. Ross and Violeta. All of those who are sick, or who have loved ones who are sick. Healthcare workers, first responders, and all those who continue to potentially expose themselves to infection. Our neighborhood and our community. The family and friends of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and Rayshard Brooks. Wilmington Yearly Meeting. Our leaders in all levels of government. People in the recovery community. Parents, children, the elderly, and others who are isolated. Everyone who is feeling discouraged. All of those who have lost jobs, or who are struggling financially during this time. The young people of WYM who won’t get to go to camp this summer. Those who are grieving. Those who are feeling anxious about the spikes in COVID 19 infections.
Hymn-Faith of our Fathers
Meditative Moment (Followed by silent worship)
Wilmington Yearly Meeting Revised Query #6: Do I prayerfully consider how to spend my time, energy, and money?
Luke 18:18-30: A certain ruler asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. You know the commandments: ‘You shall not commit adultery; You shall not murder; You shall not steal; You shall not bear false witness; Honor your father and mother.’” He replied, “I have kept all these since my youth.” When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “There is still one thing lacking. Sell all that you own and distribute the moneyto the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.” But when he heard this, he became sad; for he was very rich.Jesus looked at him and said, “How hard it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God! Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” Those who heard it said, “Then who can be saved?” He replied, “What is impossible for mortals is possible for God.” Then Peter said, “Look, we have left our homes and followed you.”And he said to them, “Truly I tell you, there is no one who has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, who will not get back very much more in this age, and in the age to come eternal life.”
I don’t know about you, but as we move deeper into this sermon series on spiritual gifts, I am starting to notice a pattern—not a single one of these gifts is as simple as their Webster Dictionary definitions. Compassion had a lot more layers to it than its rudimentary definition of “sympathetic pity”—as did kindness. And the spiritual gift that we are discussing today, giving, is no exception. The word “giving” is one that often brings to our minds dropping off clothes at the Goodwill—which is certainly an important and good thing to do—but that also paints an incomplete picture of what the gift of giving looks like. Giving is a multi-faceted spiritual gift that can manifest in a variety of ways, depending upon a person’s circumstances and depending upon their call. In any given act of giving, generosity is always present, and selfless love for God and for neighbor is always the motivator, but not all acts of giving always look the same. What one giver might have to offer to their neighbor is not always going to be what another giver has to offer to their neighbor.
Some people who possess the spiritual gift of giving are financial and material givers. Unlike the rich young ruler from today’s scripture, these folks are generous with what money and possessions they have, and they are not fearful to part ways with those things when a neighbor is in need. Maybe they donate to charities, or to specific funds at their churches that go towards helping people in the community. They’ll give that extra coat hanging in the closet to the homeless guy that they often see on the corner. If they have a car that they don’t drive, they’ll let their down-on-their-luck coworker have it. These types of givers have the ability to see the bigger picture. They consistently choose love and generosity over that paranoid voice in our brains that causes us to want to hoard things that we don’t necessarily need. Folks who are gifted financial and material givers don’t do what they do for fanfare or for recognition—they do it because they know that even just a small financial or material contribution can make a difference for somebody.
Some givers out there are givers in the ways in which they choose to spend their time. My dad is a perfect example of a person who is a gifted giver of their time. When my husband and I first bought our house, my dad was there just about every weekend helping us paint, repair walls, and deal with all of the various new-homeowner issues that kept coming up. He has spent countless hours repairing vehicles for me and my siblings over the years, and has rescued me off the side of the road more than once. When my high school didn’t have a cross country team, my dad volunteered to start the team and to be the coach so that me and my brother could run. And in what was perhaps the greatest gift of his time of all, my dad put his dream of finishing college and becoming an illustrator aside, and instead worked day and night shift simultaneously at Airborne for close to 20 years so that me and my siblings could have the opportunities that he never got to have as a kid. People who are gifted givers of their time are skilled at de-centering themselves, and they pay attention to the concrete needs of others—filling in the holes where they can. They are people who serve because they want goodness and wholeness to continue on, long after they are gone.
And then there are the givers who are gifted in giving hospitality. These are those folks who almost always have an available bed to offer when a visitor is in town, who go out of their way to greet the new neighbors with a plate of fresh-baked cookies, who will organize the casserole train for the new parents at church, and whose door is always open for anyone who needs someone to talk to, or a shoulder to lean on. These types of givers are liberal with both their time and their resources. They are welcoming and they have lots of compassion for others. They have servant’s hearts, and they refuse to believe in the myth of scarcity. People who are gifted in giving hospitality are willing to go the extra mile for their neighbors, and they do not expect to receive anything in return. They simply enjoy making people feel like they belong, and letting them know that they are cared for.
Take a minute to think about those descriptions. And heck, I’m sure that there are other types of giving out there that didn’t readily come to me as I sat writing this sermon—so if a different description of what a giver might look like occurs to you—take some time to think about that, too. Consider a time where you might have given in one of these ways. Did one of these types of giving feel more natural to you than another type? Did one of these types of giving make you feel more fulfilled, or like you were obeying God’s nudges than another type? And by asking those questions, know that what I don’t mean is, “Was one of these types of giving easier for you than another because it required less work from you?” Giving, at its core, is not supposed to be easy. If it was, then the rich young ruler would have happily sold all of his possessions at Jesus’s request, and perhaps Jesus would have had more than 12 disciples who had sacrificed their livelihoods to follow Him. Giving can be very hard. It threatens the status quo. It produces fear in us. We are human, so that scarcity thing is there by instinct—what if I donate this money, and then lose my job? Or, in pandemic language—what if I give away a roll of toilet paper, and then run out? Giving is something that is supposed to make us uncomfortable. It is supposed to move us outside of ourselves, and closer to Jesus, and closer to our neighbors.
As followers of Christ, we are all called to give. Just like with compassion and with kindness, and basically all of the other spiritual gifts that are to follow in this series—we don’t get excused from giving because we are not skilled at it. The Kingdom of God is not like that time that you forged your mom’s signature to get out of gym class. God is in the business of second chances. When we stumble and when we fail, His grace and His love is enough to help us to repent, make some changes, and do better next time. Quitting is not an option. But if you are thinking that maybe giving is a spiritual gift that you might possess, then a good way to check that is to examine the level of discomfort that you feel around giving. If you are a giver, while I can guarantee that your motives won’t be pure 100% of the time, for the most part—you will find yourself giving with sincerity. Sincerity, I think, is the key to being gifted at giving, rather than giving simply because you know you are supposed to—and all the while asking Jesus that He will give you grace for your hesitation and your grumpiness about it. In Romans 12:6-8, where Paul identifies giving as a spiritual gift, he uses the Greek word “haplotés” as a way to describe the way in which givers should give. The Bible translation that I use—the New Revised Standard Version—translates “haplotés” to mean “generously”, as does the New International Version. The King James Version interprets this word as “with simplicity”, and the New King James Version pegs “with liberality” to be the more accurate spin. But it is the New English Bible and its translation “with sincerity”, that resonates with me. The word sincerity denotes being free from pretense or deceit—being genuine and earnest. Most of the time, a person who possess the gift of giving will do it with an honest and loving heart. They will give for the right reasons, and they will do it unselfishly. They will do it because they want to spread the transformative, insurmountable, unquenchable love of Jesus—not because they are looking to cash in a favor sometime down the road. Sincere giving always has no strings attached. A gifted giver is selfless, even in the face of a society that promotes rugged individualism, and in the shadow of the popular narrative that as humans, we must always be competing with each other. A gifted giver is rooted in Christ-like love—the kind of love that restores us to a place of mutual submission and self-sacrifice for the good of another. The kind of love that brings us closer to a place of Shalom—a place that looks more like Kingdom Come.
If you are thinking that giving might be one of your spiritual gifts, then I would like to invite you to embrace that this week. Do some self-reflection. Figure out what type of giver you might be. And go out there and use that gift wherever you feel called to use it! Give sincerely, generously, and liberally, Friends. Use your gift of selflessness and of generosity to launch the love of Christ out into the world. Consider all the ways in which God might be asking you to use your gift, and hash out your calling. All giving has the potential to make a difference—big or small, simple or complicated.
If the story of the rich young ruler strikes a chord of conviction with you—if you are not a gifted giver, but you would like to become more generous for the sake of Christ—then I’d like to encourage you to start in same place that the gifted givers are starting in. Do some self-reflection. What makes you shy away from giving? What about giving makes you uncomfortable? Is that narrative true, or do you need to ask God to help you see the bigger picture? What are some little things that you can do to help stretch your giving muscle? What bigger things might you eventually be able to do, if you keep practicing giving and listening to God’s leading?
Be well, Friends. May your journeys of exploring the gift of giving be blessed this week. And to all the fathers out there, happy Father’s Day! I would especially like to extend this wish to my dad—one of the most selfless givers I know. If you are missing your dad today, or if you have complicated feelings around Father’s Day—know that you are in my heart.
Hymn- This is My Father’s World
Ada Chapel Prayer
Father, we thank thee for the night; and for the blessed morning light. For rest and food, and loving care; and all that makes the world so fair. Help us do the things we should; to be to others kind and good. In all we do, and all we say; to grow more loving every day. Amen