Sometimes, it's just a cigar

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The Sunday Sermon; The Widows Mite

It has been hard to be on social media this week and avoid the ice bucket challenge, but I have to confess I did my best. I assumed it was the latest nekking craze and have little time for people who seem to define how wild they are by doing a daft stunt suggested by someone on the interwebs. Turned out this one was OK, apparently though, because it was for “charidee” and to “raise awareness.”

Now forgive me if I come across like and old cynical grump here but whenever a new awareness raising thing hits social media I tend to want to scream, very loudly, especially at the people whose awareness is determined on doing something stupid on the internet. Remember Kony or ever so clever jokes about the colour of your bra, do you remember what awareness you were meant to be raising? Do you know what ALS is, how it affects people, what support sufferers need? Only by googling have I discovered that it is what I grew up knowing as Motor Neurone Disease, how many british participants in th ice bucket challenge know that in the UK the leading charity is called the Motor Neurone Association? Has their awareness been raised?

This may sound like an attack on people fundraising for a good cause, I suppose in many ways it is. Not because I oppose fundraising, even if far too often it replaces things that I think should be paid for by the state from food banks to overnight rooms for parents in hospitals, but because I dislike fundraising based around the further celebration of our look at me culture. Which is where the title of this weeks sermon comes from;

 Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. 42 But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents.

43 Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. 44 They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.” Mark 12;14-44

I am not sure this needs much commentary but I will add another quote;

So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.Mathew  6;5

Some things are universal, outside of time, culture or faith. I remember a Muslim friend telling me part of the practice of fasting was not to make a big deal of it, and how non muslim work colleagues made this hard when they constantly said how amazing it was and how they couldnt do it. You fasted for God, and to be reminded of the poor not to receive your praise and rewards here.

Do you have to have faith to wonder at those who need the ice bucket challenge to give? Or to wonder at celebs who are probably using it to raise awareness of themselves?

However to prove I am not a total misanthrope, here is the ever wonderful Patrick Stewart showing these things can be done with style and grace.




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This entry was posted on August 24, 2014 by in Uncategorized and tagged , , , .

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