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November 11, 2018 - The Rev. Linda Spiers


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Ruth 3:1-5, 4:13-17; Psalm 127; Hebrews 9:24-28; Mark 12:38-44
The Rev. Linda Spiers
25th Sunday after Pentecost – Year B – November 11, 2018    Trinity Episcopal Church

         I want to read the Message translation of today’s gospel to you….
         The story of the widow giving extravagantly is an interesting one as we continue with our stewardship time of giving. I wonder what those two small copper coins might be for you. Jesus gives us a story that lifts up the widow and also lifts up the scribes or the religion scholars as the Message indicates.
Jesus sat down opposite the treasury and he watched the crowd as they gave their offering. In the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible Jesus begins his teaching with “Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes, and to be greeted with respect in the marketplace, and to have the best seats in the synagogues and places of honor at banquets.” (Mark 12:38).
In ancient times the scribes were secular officials who were a class unto themselves with financial and literary prowess. After the exile and the establishment of Jewish Law, they became prominent interpreters and teachers of God’s law and gained even more power.
         In the Message Jesus says, “Watch out for the religion scholars. They love to walk around in academic gowns, preening in the radiance of public flattery, basking in prominent positions, sitting at the head table at every church function.” (Mark 12:38).
         Jesus invites the large crowd in the Temple to consider the behavior and actions of the scribes and this widow and all who were putting their money in the treasury. He sat down and he watched the people. Some scholars say that the widow’s gift of giving the whole of who she was is a precursor to Jesus’ being on the way to the cross giving the whole of who he was.
         I invite you to ponder the story, and I want to tell you another story. Henri Nouwen has a poignant book—small in size and yet powerful in its message. It’s called A Spirituality of Fundraising, and I was asked to read it for a recent board meeting. In it he tells a story of giving.
         “Speaking one day to a large audience gathered to hear about fundraising as ministry, Henri Nouwen learned that the booksellers in the lobby had sold all their copies of his latest book. At noon, he set out for the nearest bookstore to purchase more copies for them to have on hand. En route to his car, he was approached by a casually dressed young man who requested money to get home in France. Characteristically Henri said, ‘Jump into the car and come with me. Tell me about yourself.’
         As they drove along, the young man explained his unsuccessful attempt to secure a hoped-for position in Canada and his inability to get to his home because of lack of funds. Return ticket in hand, he was leaving that evening for Paris but had no money to get from there to his hometown in the south of France. When Henri had completed his purchase, returned to the conference center, and as they were parting, Henri gave the young man two hundred dollars and asked him to send news upon his safe arrival home.
         Later that day, following his lectures and just before leaving, the booksellers in the lobby handed Henri an envelope in gratitude for his kindness to them. Opening the card, Henri found a thank-you note and a check for two hundred dollars!
         Generosity begets generosity. This is especially so when generosity is rooted in the rich soil of relatedness….  Henri’s generosity with money grew from a larger generosity of self.”
         I invite you to ponder where you might find yourself in the story that Jesus uses to teach us today as I read again the story from the Message.


David L. Bartlett and Barbara Brown Taylor, eds. Feasting on the Word: Preaching the Revised Common Lectionary, Year B, Volume 4 (Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2009), 287.

Henri J. M. Nouwen, A Spirituality of Fundraising (Nashville: The Upper Room Books, 2010), v-vi.

October 21, 2018 - The Rev. Linda Spiers


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October 14, 2018 - The Rev. Linda Spiers


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October 7, 2018 - The Rev. Linda Spiers


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September 30, 2018 - The Rev. Linda Spiers


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September 16, 2018 - The Rev. Linda Spiers


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September 9, 2018 - The Rev. Linda Spiers


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April 29, 2018 - The Rev. Linda Spiers


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January 7, 2018 - The Rev. Linda Spiers


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