Doug, a servant of the Almighty, called by God to be a disciple, through whom we have received grace, to the church and congregation of God on the web, to those sanctified by their philanthropy, to all God's beloved: Grace to you and peace I give you from God.
I give thanks to God always for you, because of the grace of God which was given to you that, in every way, you were enriched in God. For I long to speak to you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you, that is, that we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s kindness, both yours and mine. I have often intended to come to you (but thus far been prevented) in order that I may reap some harvest among you, as well as among the rest of the people of this great creation.
I appeal to you, friends, by the name of God, that all of you agree and that there are no dissensions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment. For it has been reported to me that there is quarreling among you, my brethren. What I mean is that there are some of you who say “My religious group says this.” and others of you who say “My religious group says that.” Are we not all of the same people, imbued with the divine deity which permeates all? Why, then, must you disagree with one another's understanding? Diversity flavors us as different breads provide variety to the meal. Listen and understand one another’s differences, and together celebrate as one with the Almighty’s divine law. The teachings of the Almighty focus upon that which matters, leaving open the this’s and that’s so as to add color and flavor to our lives.
The Almighty Creator, omnipresent and everlasting, has reached out and touched each of us, over-filling our chalice of being with all great things. All good gifts around us are sent to us by God’s love, blessing us, for which we ought to give praise. God, may we ever stop our busy lives to remember to praise and cherish the divine, instills us with the capacity to share God’s bounteous love with one another. The charity we give is not ours, but rather God’s grace, passed through us to others.
The peace and love of God’s divine gift requires it be given away. It is like the mountain stream which babbles as it meanders along the countryside, refreshing all living things along the way. It gives itself to the plants and animals, without distinction, that they may take their fill, and when overfilled, the excess flows past. In this way, the cycle of the web of life is fulfilled. God’s grace is circulated, bestowing upon us, and all living beings, that rejuvenating love and peace which is God within each of us.
A full cup cannot receive new water. It must be emptied first. So, too, must you empty your cup of love and charity before you can be refreshed, receiving the bounty of God's gift. Pour out the water of love you carry onto the parched and needy as well as those who appear less in need. Give it away to all who ask and to all who do not ask. Give unconditionally. Only when you have emptied your chalice can you experience the elation of renewed love.
Dissention, or withholding God’s grace, embitters us. The refreshing water of God’s love in us grows stale and we tend to focus on what we have lost as opposed to what we are here to do. I understand that it is difficult to give when it seems we have so little. It seems right to withhold charity because we have not received any ourselves. Yet, God continues to pour love onto your cup, even when there is no room for it. If you feel you are not receiving much, that may be because you are only emptying small amounts of your cup. If you feel your cup is already empty, yet you do not feel God’s rejuvenating grace, look to what love you are hoarding. Give first and give completely. Only then can the grace of the Almighty Creator replenish and refresh you.
Now to him who is able to strengthen you according to the gospel and the preaching of the word of God, according to the revelation of the mystery which was kept secret for long ages but is now disclosed and through the prophetic writings is made known to all nations to the command of the eternal God, to the wise God be glory for evermore. Amen.