Sunday, January 30, 2005

Children's Message: Epiphany 4 - Year A

Anne’s class at school helped raise money for the victims of the Tsunami in South Asia. The class decided on a number of different projects that would help them meet their goal of $500. Part of the class was going on a bottle drive. Another part was having a bake sale. And another was going door to door in their neighborhoods asking for donations. After two weeks they were to report back and see how much they raised.

Anne’s group was to go door to door around their home neighbourhood. When she saw that Janet was in her group, she groaned inside.

“I don’t want Janet in our group,” Anne muttered to her friend Lisa. “We won’t get any money. Everyone knows that all her neighbours are all on welfare.”

“Maybe Janet should do a bottle drive then, she shouldn't have any trouble finding empty beer cans.” Lisa giggled. But Janet didn’t think it was very funny.

“I can’t help it if my mom gets sick and can’t work!” Janet blurted angrily.

“Everyone knows that people who live your neighbourhood are lazy and don’t want to work,” Lisa barked back.

“And everyone knows that people who live in your neighbourhood are a bunch of rich snobs like you!” Janet snapped.

Janet and Lisa looked like they were about to fight. But Janet turned away and as she did, Anne saw a tear trickle down Janet’s cheek, and Janet eyes darted around the class as she wiped it off.

A week later, when the class counted the money they raised, Janet was late for class.

“It figures Janet didn’t show up today,” Lisa growled to Anne. “I’ll bet she didn’t raise any money. I went to all my dad’s business friends, they gave me lots of money. My bag got so heavy I could barely lift it with all those loonies and toonies inside. And they kept saying something about a tax receipt. I had no idea what they were talking about.”

“So how much did you raise?” asked Anne.

“76.81” said Lisa proudly.

“Sorry I’m late,” Janet said to her teacher handing him the late slip. “My mom was sick again.”

“So, how much did you raise?” asked the teacher.

“$101.03” replied Janet.

Lisa gasped.

“Wow! That’s wonderful!” exclaimed the teacher. Then turning to the class he said “With all your hard work we’ve raised more than the amount we hoped for.”

The class applauded themselves. Except for Lisa who couldn’t figure out how Janet could raise more money than her when she lived in that part of town. Anne was happy the class met their goal.

That night as Anne was putting on her pajamas, she asked her mom and dad, “How could Janet raise so much money? Even more than Lisa?”

“Why shouldn’t she raise as much as anyone else?” asked her dad.

“Because of where she lives,” replied Annie. “Everyone knows they don’t have any money over there.”

“Well it looks like “everyone” is wrong,” said her dad. “Or what they do have they are ready to share.”

“I guess it’s like what we heard in church where the bible says that God chose what is weak in this world to shame the strong. That’s kind of a fancy way of saying that God does things in the opposite way of how we do them. Strange, huh?”

“Yeah,” said Anne.

“That’s how people in poorer neighbourhoods and sometimes raise more money than those who have more,” said mom.

“I guess Jesus had a different way of thinking about blessing then we do.”

Then they said a prayer like this as we do now, “Dear God, help us to see your blessings where we least expect them. Amen.”

1 comment:

Saheli said...

True story? Very interesting. Reminds me of statistics I've seen charting the generosity of poorer Americans, and how they don't even bother to collect the tax-deductible receipts because they don't make enough money for it to be worth their while anyway. . .