Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Being generous with our smiles and our prayers

School is back in session for thousands of students and teachers. Our summer is coming to an end. A few weeks ago, we saw a church sign near our home announcing “Backpack Blessing Sunday.” I pray a blessing of joy and safety amidst a new school year of teaching, learning, and new discoveries.

The end of August and the beginning of September mark transitions with the end of state fairs, summer jobs, and expected changes in weather. Church calendars get busy and choir rehearsal gets longer. Summer vacations come to an end and stewardship campaigns are common. As I think about my own summer blessings, I reflect upon the needs of others and the opportunities before all of us to be generous.

I think of the people of the Philippines affected by recent devastating floods and realize a number of our pastors in Iowa have family members affected. Lord, help us to be generous with our prayers and money.

A smiling Jane Richard learns
to walk again. (Richard photo)
I think about my sister, a recently retired school teacher in Chicago, and all the teachers who can benefit from our prayers and encouragement. Lord, help us to be generous with our prayers and our encouragement.

I think about children near and far that need the covering of God’s grace and the advocacy of all adults; children who bring healing to the world with their smiles, even as too many of them face pain not of their own making. Lord, help us to be generous with our comfort, compassion, and commitment to protecting our children.

I am struck by the smile of Jane Richard, a seven-year-old survivor of the Boston bombings that happened only four months ago. Her brother Martin, age eight, was killed and both her parents were injured. Yet Jane, who lost part of her left leg, smiles as she learns to walk – and even dance – with her new prosthetic leg. This family of five that also includes 11-year-old Henry now has only four at home to heal together and grieve the loss of Martin. Lord, help us to be generous with our smiles and learn to walk together. 

"Your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.”
II Corinthians 9:11

Be encouraged,

Bishop Julius C. Trimble

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