This week's practice is extravagant generosity. Which makes me think of a song in our hymnal:
Cuando el pobre nada tiene y aun reparte, cuando el hombre pasa sed y agua nos da, cuando el débil a su hermano fortalece, va Dios mismo en nuestro mismo caminar, va Dios mismo en nuestro mismo caminar.
When the poor ones who have nothing share with strangers, when the thirsty water give unto us all, when the crippled in their weakness strengthen others, then we know that God still goes that road with us, then we know that God still goes that road with us.
There's something powerful about the extravagance of generosity that God's love inspires in us--not so much that we always have impressively large sums to donate others, but that our giving makes a significant difference to us.
My dad has some favorite sayings related to giving. One of my favorites is an invitation to give until it feels good--somewhere past giving 'til it hurts is a joy that comes in being able to share something that matters to us.
Luke, Jesus tells the story of a woman who gave something that, from the outside, seemed insignificant; for her, it was everything.
Paul's second letter to the Corinthians, we're told how the Macedonian's joy and poverty somehow, mysteriously and miraculously, overflowed in a wealth of generosity.
I'm digging that phrase: a wealth of generosity. More than being about the measurable sum collected, their wealth lay in their spirit of giving. Surely, none would have need if we lived with a true wealth of generosity.
I do, however, think of the times when I have seen just this kind of spirit--courageous, risk-taking generosity inspires others to the same.