"You shall put these words of mine in your heart and soul, and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and fix them as an emblem on your forehead. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you area t home and when you are away, when you lie down and when you rise. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates, so taht your days and the days of your children may be multiplied in the land that the Lord swore to your ancestors to give them, as long as the heavens are above the earth."
I remember riding in the car with my dad when I was little. I remember partly because when I was small, my dad had a big orange van that he used for his business, which was TV Sales and Service. It had the words G&B TV on the side in great big letters. This was an era waaaaay before SUVs, and riding in my dad's van was an adventure. Sometimes when we set out, he would pretend that we were taking off in a huge jet liner: "Pilot to co-pilot/pilot to co-pilot, come in please," he'd say to me.
I remember riding in the car with my dad.
Sometimes we'd be going to get the Christmas tree, and he'd be singing Christmas carols all the way there and back. Sometimes he told jokes, kind of cheesy jokes, actually, and other times we'd have serious conversations, especially as I got older.
We discussed questions, even theological questions, on occasion, talked about (for example) what was the most important day in the church year (Easter? Christmas? Pentecost?), or why bad things happened to good people (neither of us had the answer to that). I remember on a couple of occasions, he talked about tragedies we had heard about on the news, and people's statements that they were saved from death or injury or some bad thing, becasue "God was with them." But, my dad would always say, "What about all those other people? The ones who died? The ones who suffered?" Wasn't God with them, too? Didn't God love them too?
I remember riding in the car with my dad, and the converesations we had.
"Teach (these things) to your children, talking about them when you are at home and when you are away, when you lie down and when you rise."
One of the things I think about often is what it means to live a generous life. What does it mean for us, as individuals, as families, as a congregation, to be known as generous? There are a lot of components to this, lots of ways to practice generosity -- or not. There are people who are quick to give, a little or a lot, whenever there is a need. There are people who are quick to extend their own hearts to others, be vulnerable, share their own struggles, be real.
My dad wasn't perfect by any means. But it seems to me that he had a kind of generosity, the generosity to count among God's blessed ones the suffering and the sorrowing, the down-and-out as well as the up-and-coming.
As we contemplate in our congregation what it means to live a generous life, I hope that our definition will include both generous financial giving to the mission of our congregation, and a generous heart, one that extends God's presence and God's love to the ones who need it most.
I remember riding in the car with my dad, when I was little.