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Worship: 10:30 am in September      Study: 10:30 am on Tuesdays
"We want you to know, sisters and brothers, about the grace of God which has been shown in the churches of Macedonia, for in a severe test of affection, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part."
(2 Corinthians 8: 1-2)
FOR YOUR REFLECTION: Very early in his ministry, St. Paul made the commitment to gather an offering from all the churches he founded in Greece and Turkey to support the very small and struggling Christian community in Jerusalem. He counted on the wealthy community of Corinth to provide greatly for the offering, but over time, the Corinthians lost their interest and their offering was paltry. But not the Macedonians! Though not wealthy themselves, they gave generously for the mother church in a show of Christian community and kindness. Their abundance of joy transformed into a wealth of generosity on their part!

The relationship between generosity and joy is strong. When we are genuinely generous, we tap deeply into that joy inside us-and working from joy always feels good! Giving brings life-look at the Dead Sea. Many fresh water streams flow in, but nothing flows out, so the waters of that Sea are literally dead! Without an outlet for our joy and compassion, our souls will die. Generosity is that outflow that allows us to ground ourselves in that same generosity that God shares with us. And as God is generous with us and we are generous with others, joy flows as well!
FROM THE BOOK OF JOYFrom Archbishop Tutu: "Start where you are and realize that you are not meant on your own to resolve all these massive problems. Do what you can. It seems so obvious. And you will be surprised, actually, at how it can get to be catching." (Page 273)
QUESTIONS FOR EXPLORING JOY: What sparks you to be generous? How can you grow in your generosity? 
ACTION STEPS: Take up one act of complete generosity this week. One possibility: take $100 or so out of the ATM in $20s or $10s, and hand out the money to the needy until it is gone, or pay for someone's meal when you are eating out. No questions asked...just give it away. Or find a way to be generous that is not financial-perform a task or kindness for a neighbor, take the first step in meeting someone new at work or where you live, take yourself, or your spouse or family out for a surprise "date."
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