Acts 2: 44 – 47
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.
In the first days after Pentecost, the early believers in Jesus experienced serious disruption in their regular life. Suddenly, there was a togetherness and sense of community they hadn’t experienced before. Suddenly, priorities shifted and their shared life took precedence. Generosity blossomed as they found joy and security in trusting that having all things in common would mean that all their needs would be met.
A Covid-19 pandemic is hardly akin to Pentecost. But it does have the potential to be a massive reset button. In the midst of the disruption and adjustment, we have the opportunity to reflect on our priorities. Being forced to practice physical distancing brings into sharp focus how much the experience of friendship and community matters to us. Facing our loneliness, feeling the anxiety of uncertainty, and facing the reality of sudden economic destabilization, offers fresh opportunity to reflect on what our value of mutuality really means.
The early believers shared things in common and ensured that those with need were cared for. Imagine what this must have been like as a group of wealthy and poor, slave and free, male and female suddenly found themselves in equitable relationship despite the social dictates of the culture around them. Their joy and gladness in experiencing the presence of the Spirit, the liberating teaching of Jesus, and a deep sense of community together must have transcended any difficult effects of such radical change. It is easy to see how this might be liberating for those economically disadvantaged. But it would seem that it was equally liberating to the rich.
This shared economy where resources are redistributed to ensure no one had need is hard to imagine in our world. It might sound overly radical. We’re so very used to our individualized and privatized existence.
Perhaps this strange time of physical distancing could be a catalyst for a new liberty. Perhaps seeing the strange phenomenon of hoarding things like toilet paper, could be a mirror to call us to a new rhythm of generosity.
The disparity between those who have not had work or financial disruption and those who feel the deep vulnerability of uncertainty and financial loss is both an opportunity and a test of the depth of our love for one another.
Let’s lead with love, risk a reset, and ensure that the GS family leaves no one alone in their need.
Today we announce the launch of our Covid-19 Mutual Support Fund.
In response to the unprecedented realities of the COVID-19 crisis, Generous Space Ministries is concerned with the very real material needs facing many people in our community. To that end, we have created the GS COVID-19 Mutual Support Fund to provide essential financial assistance to those who see Generous Space as family.
How Does It Work? Through this online form, people in our community can confidentially apply for funding, providing GS with details about the need and the specific amount required. A designated disbursement team, made up of the Executive Director, Director of Operations, and a Director of Community, will consider applications based upon the nature of the need and availability of funds. What Does It Cover? The fund is designed to help cover specific one-time emergency expenses such as food, current rent, transportation, medical support, etc. The designated staff team will discern how to prioritize the disbursement of funds. The fund is not designed to cover recreational or non-essential expenses. Support will cover the specific financial amount with a $250 cap. Where Does The Money Come From? This is a way that all of us can participate in supporting one another in times of need. Donations to Generous Space Ministries can be designated toward the Mutual Support Fund. While donations cannot be designated to specific people, the disbursement team will distribute the funds carefully and fairly. The more people give to the fund, the more people we can help.
Generous Space Ministries is more than an organization. We are a community of deep relationships and an abiding sense of family. As our community faces very real financial and material needs, it is not enough for us to say, “Be warm and well fed!”. The GS COVID-19 Mutual Support Fund provides us the opportunity to stand with each other in very practical and essential ways.