It's been a while. I've been busy. But I'm back... at least for the next wee while as a number of people have asked me to post a couple of things', beginning with some who asked for me to post the conclusion of my sermon today... so here it is in a slightly edited form, together with the Gospel passage that prompted it...
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 pence.
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: 41-44 (NIVUK)
On Friday I was meeting Louise Ferguson, the manager of the Larder foodbank in East Belfast, in preparation for the 4 Corners Walk on Saturday 11th February which we hope will finish up there… I will blog about it closer to the time…
For those who don’t know The Larder is based in the old St. Christopher’s Parish Church on Mersey Street, in the shadow of the Oval Football Ground… There is no traditional congregation there any more… instead it houses the Larder Food Bank and a range of other faith-based social outreaches seeking to make a practical difference in that particular corner of Belfast… As we were talking we were interrupted a number of times for various reasons… And during one interruption I was reading a series of quotes scribbled on the wall…
One of them particularly struck home as I had been preparing for today’s Homelessness Sunday service, which had the above Gospel reading as one of its recommended readings, but was also aware that Saturday was Holocaust Memorial Day…
They were words attributed to Anne Frank who died in Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in 1945:
“No-one has ever become poor by giving.”
Anne Frank (attr.)
This seemed the perfect quote to tie the themes together… But when I got home and checked them out I discovered that like far too many popular quotations, there is no citation for Anne Frank ever having said this… The closest I got to any sort of an attribution was the suggestion that they occurred in a play about her life.
However, I also discovered that she did write an essay called “Give!” on 26th March 1944 whilst in hiding, in which she said:
How wonderful it is that no one has to wait, but can start right now to gradually change the world! How wonderful it is that everyone, great and small, can immediately help bring about justice by giving of themselves!
You can always — always — give something, even if it's a simple act of kindness!
Anne Frank "Give!" (26 March 1944)
And with those words I finished my sermon today… Anything else seemed superfluous.