Worship this Sunday, October 24, 10:00 a.m.
I (Mike) am amazed at the wild fluctuations of my own heart when it comes to people asking for donations at the busy intersections around us. Their signs say things like, “Hungry. Anything Helps. God bless.” Or, “Homeless. Two kids. Please help.” At different times, and often at the same time, I feel guilty, sympathetic, defensive, curious, angry (at myself and society, not the person), and ashamed. And jsyk, I (almost) never give money.
The scripture reading this week is Mark 10:46-52, the story of a person asking for money as Jesus walks by. Unusually, we hear the person’s name, Bartimaeus, and he is described as a “blind beggar.” This story and our contemporary experience of people asking for money at busy intersections (and elsewhere) raise a whole host of emotions, economic issues, theological questions, and ultimately, a tough ethical question: Should we give? What does it mean to act with goodwill toward people who “beg” today? Such are the issues in my sermon this week, and, yes, I will tie this to our annual generosity campaign, “Union Church, Emerging.”
Our service will be in the sanctuary and masks are required. With our fans on, windows open, and virus-killing filters at work, we feel the COVID risk is minimal for those who are vaccinated and masked.