Guilt upon Guilt

By Lu Mountenay of Independence, Missouri, USA

Each of you must give as you have made up your mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.  2 Corinthians 9:7

It’s only the beginning of November and already the bell ringers are out with their collection pots. They stand outside the entrances of stores, hard to avoid. I walk quickly past, keeping my eyes focused on the door. The clanging irritates me almost as much as the guilt I feel for not giving.

I want to say, “I’m sure yours is a worthwhile cause, but I give my charity dollars to other organizations.” But they don’t care, so I don’t try to explain. Then I feel even guiltier when they wish me a merry Christmas. (Bah. Humbug.)

I finally get into the sanctuary of the store and start filling my cart with food. What’s wrong with this picture? I know one purpose of the collection pot out front is to feed the hungry. I’ve been walking around in the nice warm store, and the collector has been standing in icy-cold weather.

I’m going to have to roll my food cart quickly past the bell ringer again on the way out. The guilt is building.

Here’s the clincher. As I dash out the door, I see a woman in a wheelchair drop money in the collection pot. She has a big smile on her face. OK, OK. I get it.

I stop, dig in my purse, and put in some money. But that’s not the way (“reluctantly and under compulsion”) it should be done. I spend the rest of the day searching my soul for an attitude adjustment. I thank God for divine grace.

Peace for Peace:

Creator God, may we employ our enduring principle of Grace and Generosity under all circumstances with all people. May we learn from the humble and cheerful giver.

Spiritual Practice:

Praying for peace is a daily Community of Christ spiritual practice. Bring a small- to medium-size candle to your prayer space. If possible visit the church website, print the Daily Prayer for Peace, and bring it to your space. Greet God, light the candle, and sit quietly, looking at this symbol of God’s Spirit and Christ’s peace. Slowly read the Daily Prayer for Peace, silently or aloud. Sit in silence again. What images and desires for peace come to your heart and mind? Speak or write your own prayer for peace. Say amen and blow out your candle.

Peace Covenant:

At all seasons, God, I will give out of the joy of my soul, and I will bless the opportunity to do so.

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1 Comment

  1. John Bonney

     /  10 November 2012

    Ah lu my friend, you sure know how to stick in the knife and twist it. Sure you’re not a Jewish mother? Guilt and guilt, and on guilt.

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