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Weekly Reflection - Generosity

11 June 2021

Revd Canon Peter Farley-Moore

“You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who can never repay you.”

I love the sentiment behind this statement. Such extravagance and unconditional generosity is truly refreshing. As the G7 leaders meet in Cornwall these words (from John Bunyan, author of The Pilgrim’s Progress) seem particularly relevant. Let’s hope that the collective mind of our governmental leaders will find it within themselves to commit to generosity for the world’s poor; generosity for future generations; and generosity in saving the planet from climate disaster.

As The G7 summit begins it coincides with the Feast Day of St Barnabas. Barnabas is described in the New Testament as the son of encouragement. He is remembered for an outstanding act of generosity which enabled the early church community in Jerusalem to flourish. As a response to the love of God, he decided to sell a field and give the proceeds to the other apostles so that they could distribute it among the poor and vulnerable members of the community. Barnabas’ act of generosity has motivated people through all generations to let go of their possessions and property, giving alms generously for the needs of others.

The political debates of our day are so often focused on this quality of generosity; how much should we give in overseas aid? How much can we release of our vaccine stocks to help less well-resourced countries? How can we enable a “levelling-up” in our own country and release wealth from the South to the North?

Wakefield Cathedral is one of the gifts that has been generously given to us by others– we can never repay them. But, we could reflect on their generosity and respond in kind with a fresh act of generosity today.

The Collect for St Barnabas:

Bountiful God, giver of all gifts,
who poured your Spirit upon your servant Barnabas
and gave him grace to encourage others:
help us, by his example,
to be generous in our judgements
and unselfish in our service;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

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