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May 8, 2014


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CONTENTS

A time to receive

Nigeria

Pentecost offering

 

Pink roses
“For everything there is a season...”

NOAC attendees “All care is given and received freely because it is done in the name of Jesus.”
Photos by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford

Older Adult Month 2014
Find resources for Older Adult Month at www.brethren.org/oam .

A time to receive
Adapted from a reflection by William Cave in celebration of Older Adult Month.

“For everything there is a season...”

These opening words from chapter three of Ecclesiastes have captured imaginations throughout history. The author is believed to have been a philosopher and teacher. He identified with “reason” as a way to interpret life, but that approach left him baffled. Still, he believed that life, even with its limitations, is worth living.

It’s interesting that the predetermined patterns of life listed by the Ecclesiastes philosopher do not include seasons when it is necessary—even a blessing—to receive rather than to give. This seems out of place in our culture that is dominated by models of economic exchange which expect that any gift will be reciprocated. A spirit of generosity and gratitude has been replaced with one of investment and return.

The danger with this model is devaluing people who have nothing to give. It becomes easy to exclude such persons, even within the fellowship of believers, since our rules of engagement require the ability to offer some reasonable return—something that will benefit others.

And yet, the author of Ecclesiastes contends that there is a season for “every matter under heaven.” Our lives experience rhythms, including times when, for health, time, or financial reasons, we cannot contribute much to others—we have nothing to exchange. That is a season when the only proper role is to receive the care of others; that time when it is actually more blessed to receive than to give.

As Christians, we embrace the truth that within the fellowship of believers, all care is given and received freely because it is done in the name of Jesus, the Christ. May we find within our respective faith communities the permission and strength to receive care of others with grace and dignity.

William Cave, of Cleona, Pa., is an ordained minister in the Church of the Brethren whose passion is helping others learn about the aging process and ways to share Christ’s compassion with older adults. Read his reflection in full, as well as several other resources for Older Adult Month, at the www.brethren.org/oam . Support the important work of Older Adult Ministries at www.brethren.org/give .

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Stand with Chibok
Visit www.brethren.org/praynigeria
for guided prayer resources.
Photo courtesy of the Church of the Brethren Office of Public Witness


Nigeria

On April 14, 230 schoolgirls from Chibok, Nigeria, were kidnapped by an extremist Islamic sect. Many of the victims are members of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (Church of the Brethren in Nigeria). Please pray.

Holy God of mercy and justice,

We lift up the kidnapped Nigerian schoolgirls and their families to you. Please bring them peace and comfort in this frightening time. Do a mighty work of intervention to ensure the release and safe return of our young sisters.

In the powerful name of Jesus we pray.

Amen.

Visit www.brethren.org/eyncompassion to give
to the EYN Compassion Fund.



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Pentecost 2014
www.brethren.org/pentecost 



“Do we have the conviction that God is indeed at work in the world, capable of drawing others into our midst to see and hear the Good News? Do we have the passionate energy to speak with conviction of God's actions in and around us?”

—Josh Brockway in his exegesis of Acts 2:41 for this year’s Pentecost Offering.

Pentecost Sunday is June 8.
Visit
www.brethren.org/pentecost
for more worship resources or to give now.



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Watch for our next issue on May 22, 2014.

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eBrethren: Stories of Brethren Stewards, is produced every other week by the Church of the Brethren donor communications team.


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