In the joyous season of Easter, we hear from the book of Acts. The writer describes the community of the first believers:
All who believed were together and had all things in common; they would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds to all, as any had need. Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple, they broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having the goodwill of all the people (Acts 2:44-47a).
Those first believers gave generously close to home, sharing their bounty with their own community. Later, as Paul began his missionary journeys, believers gave to support other communities further away. Does that sequence of giving carry a hint for us, for Women of the ELCA? I think it does, and our purpose statement seems to say the same thing. The first three things we commit ourselves to in our purpose statement are to “grow in faith, affirm our gifts [and] support one another in our callings.” It seems to me that “supporting one another” means supporting our beloved community of women in all its expressions first, before looking further out “to promote healing and wholeness in the church, the society and the world.”
Sharing our blessings first with our community of women created in the image of God and then reaching out to the rest of God’s beloved creation is a wonderful way to act in glad generosity as those first believers did. It’s good for our hearts!