7 Be still before the Lord, and wait patiently for him;
do not fret over those who prosper in their way,
over those who carry out evil devices.
8 Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath.
Do not fret—it leads only to evil.
9 For the wicked shall be cut off,
but those who wait for the Lord shall inherit the land.
16 Better is a little that the righteous person has
than the abundance of many wicked.
21 The wicked borrow, and do not pay back,
but the righteous are generous and keep giving.
Psalm 37:7-9, 16, 21
Today Nouwen tells us to be generous – each time we are, we move from fear to love. That those we are asked to be generous to – and to forgive – are our family – because we are all one kin – one body in one Christ.
I think perhaps many of the previous day’s readings have been pointing towards this. That only by becoming generous like God can we be closer to God. Today’s action proved hard – not to moan and groan about the challenges of life – after a sleepless night, no seat on the train etc. But actually, none of that mattered. The sleepless night was love for my son (who is ill) and my wife (who was exhausted); the train was not intruding on others (though tweeting about it meant I moaned even though I didn’t allow my displeasure to be felt by the offenders).
How then to be generous when we are seriously wronged? Prayer may be the only way… By praying we may come to see wisdom, to care less and understand more. We may yet be seen to be radical in our love of Christ and our fellow humankind as we were exhorted to be right back at the start of Advent in a sermon in church. A few snatched words of a kyrie may calm us down before we say something we regret, and allow us to respond graciously and gratefully.
This being a Christian stuff sure isn’t easy, is it?*
And for generosity, some music about the ultimate act of generosity. John Ireland’s Greater Love Hath No Man:
* understatement of the year so far.