I’ve been praying and wondering quite a lot and preaching a little bit in and about this passage from the first chapter of the Letter of James:
“Every generous act of giving, with every perfect gift, is from above…”
In our daily and yearly rhythms of reading, praying, and listening through the Bible, we are blessed with occasions to startle over a familiar text. In the same way as we startle over a beautiful tree or an architectural detail along a route we’ve traveled hundreds or even thousands of times (“Has that always been here? I’ve never noticed that before!”), so we startle over words of Scripture that we’ve driven by hundreds or even thousands of times, noticing a detail we’ve never seen before. One of the luscious blessings of making time all the time to offer our attention to sacred texts!
Like you, I’ve sung and prayed over and sighed on and preached from the second portion of this passage a lot of times. All good gifts around us are sent from heaven above. Amen. Thank God!
But I startled this fall over the first portion of the passage, which seems to have caught my attention for the first time. (“Has that always been here? I’ve never noticed that before!”) Every generous act of giving is also from above!
Not only the gifts we receive but the gifts we give are Godsent. God has my PIN and password. God writes checks on my account. God has access to my calendar and can spend my time. Amen. Thank God!
Our calendar years close with seasons of feasts and gifts. Very good times, my beloved, to watch for what hasn’t been noticed before. Very good times, my beloved, for God to use our PINs and passwords and account numbers to give gifts to precious souls who are not on our lists of favorites, whose names we didn’t draw for the gift exchange. Very good times, these weeks of crowded calendars, to pay attention to ways God may choose to spend our time on an unnoticed someone needing presence that God chooses (WOW!) to send through us.
Thank you and thank God for the stunning ways God sends gifts through you!
—Jonna Jensen, Associate Conference Minister