The words we absorb become who we are - what we read and what we listen to are far more influential in our lives than what we would think. But even the words we speak, shape who we are, impacting our interactions with the world around us.
Because our spirit soaks up each word we hear and speak.
That's why many churches include the practice of reading liturgies. Some churches, like the Catholic, Lutheran, and Episcopal churches, are super liturgical, and include a significant amount of aloud reading that you repeat over and over each week.
Other churches, like my NYC church, utilizes liturgy much more sparingly. However, when I first started attending the church we'd read what is called the Generosity Liturgy most every week. To be perfectly honest, I wasn't really into "it." I was bored by the routine, and haunted by my Episcopal Church upbringing.
But I'm now realizing how much the words have seeped into my being and I now believe every church ought to be "determined to increase in generosity until it can be said that there is no needy person among us."
The reason I bring this up is because I recently approached a church to see if they could financially help out someone who I knew was in need in their community. I had a connection with a staff person at the church, and I knew the person in need (a friend of mine) had been serving faithfully at this church for several years. So I asked the staff person if the church could help this individual out. But instead of receiving my request, the staff person at this church redirected me to my own local church community - miles from this situation and this person in need. This confused and saddened me because I have come to believe that one of the functions of the local church is to help care for the needs of those in their community. I'm grateful my own local church in NYC is one that makes such practice a priority.
THE GENEROSITY LITURGY
There is nothing we have
that we have not received;
all we have and are belong to God,
bought with the blood of Jesus.
To spend everything on ourselves,
and to give without sacrifice
is the way of the world
that the Father cannot abide.
But generosity is the way of those
who call Christ their Lord;
who love him with free hearts,
and serve him with renewed minds;
who withstand the delusion of riches
that chokes the word;
whose hearts are in heaven, and not on earth.
We are determined to increase in generosity
until it can be said
that there is no needy person among us.
We are determined to be faithful stewards
of such a little thing as money
that Christ may trust us with true riches.
Above all things, we are determined to be generous
because our Father is generous.
It is the delight of His daughters and sons
to share their Father’s traits,
and to show what He is like to all the world.