Oakland church

“Every day you have less reason not to give yourself away.”

We may be tempted to think of this Wendell Berry poem as only for old people. But, I believe, that would be a mistake.
The poem is not first and foremost about aging and dying. It’s about generosity, one of the most life-giving of all virtues.
No Going Back     (The Sabbath Poems, 1993, I)
 
No, no, there is no going back.

Less and less you are

that possibility you were.

More and more you have become

those lives and deaths

that have belonged to you.

You have become a sort of grave

containing much that was

and is no more in time, beloved

then, now, and always.

And you have become a sort of tree

standing over a grave.

Now more than ever you can be

generous toward each day

that comes, young, to disappear

forever, and yet remain

unaging in the mind.

Every day you have less reason

not to give yourself away.
Generosity does not require material abundance. When I think back on the many people who have been so generous toward me, I rarely  think of money or “things.” Often, I think of how they gave me their presence, their assurance, support, and blessing — all gifts of “self” that any of us can give.


And where does generosity come from? Perhaps from gratitude. When I consider my gratitude for the gifts I’ve been given, I wonder “How can I keep these gifts alive?” What I’ve discovered is, “Become a giver yourself, pass your gifts along, and do it extravagantly!”  As Wendell Berry says, “Every day you have less reason/not to give yourself away.”
 
Join us, this Sunday, as we prepare ourselves for the season of Thanksgiving, 
 
peace, Pastor Laurie 

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