"Generously" is one of my favourite words. There's no fear in generosity, and no holding back. This morning we heard about the story of the Good Samaritan, and it felt like generosity and being generous was all over the service.
It started with the representative from The Open Table, explaining the generosity of the congregations in providing a taste of home for students throughout the school year by providing meals and fellowship. (Jonathan's t-shirt even said it: Live Generously) Then in the Scripture reading, the lawyer was talking with Jesus about what it takes to inherit eternal life, and Jesus was generous in his response: No tricks here, you got it right, Lawyer: To love God and love your neighbour. (Easy to say, a bit harder to do, we're soon to learn!)
But we read that the lawyer wanted more and asked "who is my neighbour?" and got a story in response. A man was travelling from Jerusalem to Jericho, got attacked by bandits, was robbed and beaten and left to die. Karen reminded us that the Priest and the Levite who did not help the wounded man were trapped between loving God and loving their neighbour. They served in the temple and they'd be unclean, unable to serve, if they touched this half dead man. They may have told themselves they were passing him by for the greater good - to continue their service to God and their fellow Jews.
But the Samaritan gave of himself generously. He didn't just bandage him up and leave him, he "was moved with pity." He brought him to an inn, he paid for his care, and he offered to come back and settle any debts. What resonated with me especially this morning was Karen's suggestion that the Kingdom of Heaven seems so much more tangible in the presence of this generosity. A beautiful thought to take with me throughout the week.
Rev. Karen dismissed us with a benediction similar to Jesus' own, to "Go, and do likewise." We were instructed to see Jesus in those around us, and to allow Jesus to be seen through ourselves. What a calling to live generously!