Freedom to Give Alms

Way back in the fourth century, St. John Chrysostom was confronted by those who wanted to excuse themselves from giving money to the poor by asking if this did not just enable the poor to spend money on loose women and alcohol. St. John addressed this in different ways in several sermons that he gave on almsgiving. He taught that giving money to the poor is commanded by our Lord, with no such reservation. To obey that command demonstrates our freedom by showing that we have not become a slave to our possessions. We can be free of them. But freedom doesn’t end there.

The poor man who receives money has now been given freedom. He now has a choice to use it responsibly to meet his needs or the needs of his family, to share it, to hoard it, or to use it on loose women and wine. This is an opportunity for freedom. If he never has money, but only the things that others deem are appropriate for him, his physical needs may be met; but he is given no opportunity to exercise his own moral freedom.

So let us freely give to purchase our own freedom and the freedom of those bound by poverty.

“In the matter of piety, poverty serves us better than wealth, and work better than idleness,  especially since wealth becomes an obstacle even for those who do not devote themselves to it. Yet, when we must put aside our wrath, quench our envy, soften our anger, offer our prayers, and show a disposition which is reasonable, mild, kindly, and loving, how could poverty stand in our way? For we accomplish these things not by spending money but by making the correct choice. Almsgiving above all else requires money, but even this shines with a brighter luster when the alms are given from our poverty. The widow who paid in the two mites was poorer than any human, but she outdid them all.” -St. John Chrysostom, On Wealth and Poverty

“He who gives alms in imitation of God does not discriminate between the wicked and the virtuous, the just and the unjust, when providing for men’s bodily needs.”  -St. Maximos the Confessor, First Century on Love no. 24

Embroidered Hats

We now have hats available for purchase. Their are several colors in a couple of slightly different styles. We are selling them for whatever you want to pay. They cost us about $8 each. They are embroidered in America, but the cotton hats are made in China.

They all feature The King’s Jubilee logo embroidered on the front.  Our logo was designed by Wallace W. Wolff. It is people of different races holding hands in the air lifting a shout. They form a crown. The ideas that we hope to convey with this logo are: “The Lord inhabits the praise of his saints.” “The earth is the Lord’s and the fulness thereof.” And the idea that everyone we meet has something unique of the glory of God to reflect and to bring into His kingdom.

They are intended to build team spirit and identify volunteers when we are serving together on the street. Anyone who wants to be reminded to pray for us and those whom we serve  is encouraged to wear one. It is not required apparel for volunteers. We are not McDonald’s.

Team Fred

Fred wanted to be responsible to coordinate one night’s meal on the street. I asked him to take care of Holy Thursday. On Holy Thursday, all of the Orthodox team members are in church. Normally, we just don’t serve that week. Fred wanted something that would identify the team with The King’s Jubilee. I found a place that sold custom embroidered hats in small quantities at low prices. The hats arrived that day, so I drove them down to Fred’s place along with the iced tea, in the afternoon.

Fred put together a team of volunteers that included Muslims, Jews and Christians. Denise made and served 200 pieces of fried chicken. I am not sure of who else did what. Fred said that he gained a new appreciation for coordinators. It took a lot of work to put it together. They served over 100 people. All went smoothly.

Thank you, Fred, and the rest of the team for a job well done!