A new season of Bible studies based on the Gospel of Luke
An invitation from Guildford Diocese Stewardship team: Would you like to join us this October for Transforming Generosity? Over the month we will look together at the Gospel of Luke, seeking a deeper understanding of God’s abundant generosity, reflecting on generous giving as part of our discipleship and worship, and responding by continuing to build generous churches.
We know that generous people can transform our communities, and beyond, at this time. Simply take five minutes out of your day to listen to – or read – a short reflection from the Gospel of Luke, each focusing on the theme of generosity. We have some brilliant and thought-provoking reflections to share with you! The website has links for all the podcasts, or why not sign up to receive them direct to your inbox?
Here is an example of one of the daily studies as a taster. We hope it helps you on your discipleship journey.
Sunday 4th October: Luke 3 Today we’ll be focusing on verses 10-14:
“And the crowds asked John the Baptist, ‘What then should we do?’ In reply he said to them, ‘Whoever has two coats must share with anyone who has none; and whoever has food must do likewise.’ Even tax-collectors came to be baptized, and they asked him, ‘Teacher, what should we do?’ He said to them, ‘Collect no more than the amount prescribed for you.’ Soldiers also asked him, ‘And we, what should we do?’ He said to them, ‘Do not extort money from anyone by threats or false accusation, and be satisfied with your wages.’’
In Luke’s recounting of the beginning of the public ministry of John the Baptist the words from the prophet Isaiah are remembered, the one crying in the wilderness – prepare the way of the Lord. John was very direct with those who he thought didn’t understand exactly what he was offering. He wasn’t offering a get-saved-quick package, but a re-think of the way of life.
John, and those who had come out to hear what he had to say were Jews. They knew their teaching about how the most vulnerable should be treated and, as throughout human history, people fell short of the ideal. The difference for Luke is that he links their shared ethical imperatives with ‘making the paths straight’, and, ‘preparing for the way of the Lord’, in other words, bringing in the kingdom of God.
‘What then should we do?‘ the people asked. John the Baptist encouraged the people to remember their responsibilities to one another – those who have two coats should give one away and those who have more food than they need should give it to someone who has no food at all. His call extended to those who weren’t just neglecting their responsibility, but to those who were actively taking advantage of the vulnerable. The tax collectors who always demanded a little extra for themselves and the soldiers who used the power of their position to frighten people into giving to them what little they had.
This message is as relevant today as it was then. All we have is a gift from God – entrusted to us to use as wisely as we can, for the common good. It’s tempting in times of uncertainty to narrow our focus and our thoughts But God calls us to a generosity of spirit which begins with lifting our heads, scanning the horizon and spotting where paths need to be straightened or burdens eased. This is generosity which is transformative.
Almighty God, in Christ you make all things new:
transform the poverty of our nature by the riches of your grace,
and in the renewal of our lives make known your heavenly glory;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
We pray that Transforming Generosity can be a foundation for us as Christ’s people to be a beacon of hope and light in every circumstance, showing His generosity in all its forms. Sign up and find out more here: https://www.cofeguildford.org.uk/making-disciples/encouraging-generous-giving/transforming-generosity
Does my local church need my help? We certainly do!
St Mary’s church in Ash Vale is currently running at a deficit in the region of £12k-£14k because our regular outgoings to run the church and all our activities and outreach (even after all our latest cost savings) are bigger than our regular donations & hall hire income. The future is uncertain and the diocese is having to make tough decisions about staffing and churches across the region. Please give it some prayerful thought and if you feel want to help we would love to hear from you.
Signing up to regular donations would be a huge help to enable us to plan ahead. One-off donations are also very much welcomed. To find out more or ask for a form please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or pop in when the office is open on Thursdays 10:30-12:30 or you can speak to us on a Sunday after the 10am service or phone us. If you prefer to give anonymously you can donate by bank transfer and simply use “donation” as the reference. Gift Aid forms are also available for those who pay tax. Our online readers can make donations now via our “give a little” link here. Thank you.
Thank you to all our donors, supporters and volunteers for your wonderful help & support. We can’t do it without you!