The Folds of a Garment

Monday of the Second Week of Lent

Give and it shall be given to you.

Good measure pressed down, shaken together, running over, will they pour into the fold of your garment.

For the measure you measure with will be measured back to you.

Today’s reading is one of my favorites in Lent. We say what goes around comes around, but the people in Jesus’ day were peasants and understood a grain metaphor. I come from peasant stock, Kansas farmer stock, and I can see the image of the good measure being pressed down, shaken together, running over, and the abundance in it.

But regardless of the way we say it, the philosophy is the same: what goes out, comes back.

Today, I want to offer the idea that Lent can mean receiving as well as giving up. We Americans, we’re not so good at receiving. When someone gives, more often than not the receiver says, thanks, but you don’t have to. Or words to that effect. We have mislaid the ability to receive fully and graciously.

When we give and receive in equal measure, we stay in balance.

Practice saying thank you today wherever you can. Just thank you. No add-ons. And when giving something, a piece of paper, a banana, a dollar to someone else, notice whether that person can simply receive with a thank you. Just observe.

Would saying thank you and receiving, giving and receiving thanks, be the good measure poured into the fold of our world?

Could we change the world one thank you at a time? One day at a time?

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9 thoughts on “The Folds of a Garment

  1. it’s like polishing silver. rubbing in ever widening circles. (giving to the world around you) work the small spots and end up with a big shiny thing. then enjoy the bright shiny thing (recieve). thank you.

  2. Good reminder, Janet. Just like when someone says they’re sorry we feel badly and they’ll pray for us. The “correct” response is not really “Oh I’ll be fine” but perhaps a genuine “Thank you for showing your care.”

    “A true lady is a gracious receiver,” my Scottish granny always said.

  3. I love the balance idea– so often it seems Christian teachers are suggesting that if we are not giving much more than we are receiving, then we’re doing something wrong. That doesn’t feel right, though. It feels exhausting and builds resentment. Giving and receiving are important. Thanks for the reminder.

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