“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God’”  

-Ephesians 2:8

Nancy Porter’s sermon:

nancy porterTruly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.”  — Matthew 25:40

Love your neighbor as yourself.” – Mark 12:30

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Weekly, In the Prayers to the People, form I – we pray for the sick & infirme, widowed & orphans, the sick & suffering, poor & oppressed, unemployed, destitute, prisoners & captives.

It seems that my entire life was spent with individuals from this list. As a preschool child, I spend days with my grandmother. I am not sure who was taking care of whom.  Living on the farm, we quickly learned to properly care for the gifts that God had put on this earth. There was always an opportunity work together to accomplish a task or help others. As I grew up and headed for college, it was expected that I would be a teacher, just like all the other women in my family. I tried but that was not me. One three-week period as a substitute teacher sent me searching for a different major. I discovered another area that really intrigued me – Social Work – a new field of study in the early 70’s. Calling home and advising the family I had changed my major was not accepted well. I was asked “What is social work?”  I quickly & simply explained -helping people. The response “Someone will pay you to do that?”  Well, over the last 42 years, I learned they don’t pay much money but other benefits you receive are unmeasurable.  To bring a smile to someone’s’ face, hand a parent a long-awaited child, help lessen ones’ burden, show others how to change and watch them grow in front of you, offer a safe home to a child in need, obtain resources for those who needy , – are priceless.  David & I have spent our years as parents, guiding children to develop into healthy, well-rounded individuals who become good citizens. We have spent our time as coach or team mom for sports, and offered over 13 years to being scout leaders. A camping scout rule that can be applied anywhere has become a direction for me. Always respected the area you are using and when you leave, make sure you leave that area in as good a shape as you found it. Always try to improve the area, if possible.

In the Episcopal Relief & Development Lenten Meditation for Wednesday, March 23

Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap; for the measure you give will be the measure you get back.

Luke 6:38

A good measure…not a half-hearted consolation prize, not a guilt-trip donation, wrung out of you by someone you need to impress, but a heaping, sifted, tamped-down measure. This is the way Luke describes the gift we must give, and the gift that will be given back.In other places, the Bible says you will receive ten times what you give. My experience mostly has been somewhere between those estimates. And except in the cosmic sense, the giving is not usually reciprocal. The point is that giving, like forgiving, is one of those amazing mysteries of God’s grace. Giving produces in and of itself a mental attitude of gratitude. Whatever we get in return, we actually appreciate more. Sister Claire Joy

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