The text message came from my son "Some child will be wearing my mane someday." There were two pictures: one post haircut, one with his hair in long ponytails ready to be cut and donated to Locks of Love.
He's been growing his hair out since the pandemic started. He complained about the upkeep of long hair when he was home at Christmas (been there, done that), but he's shorn his hair and is in his happy haircut stage.
He will receive comments and questions at work and with his friends, but I'm sure he's already shared his intentions. What he isn't doing is standing up in the office and shouting, "I cut my hair for charity!"
He's practicing humble generosity.
Our church members practice humble generosity with their donations. We have members who give just what their budget allows. We have donors who give significant amounts. It's all generosity.
And we do it humbly.
One of the Ash Wednesday readings always seems a little out of place. It's Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21.
Ash Wednesday is the one day of the year when we are physically marked with ashes to show our faith in Christ.
Yet Matthew says, "Beware of practicing your piety before others in order to be seen by them, for then you have no reward from your Father in heaven."
But by receiving the ashes aren't we practicing our piety before others?
In his Ash Wednesday sermon, Pastor Walters referred to our prayer, our fasting, and our almsgiving as "fierce, focused discipline."
Most of us on Ash Wednesday went home after the service. When we lived in California, I would typically go grocery shopping after worship, wearing my ash cross.
Every year I see President Biden with an ash cross on his head.
Yet none of us are shouting from the hilltops, "I am a Christian." (Maybe there are times we should, but that's another story.)
Instead, on Ash Wednesday, we practiced our fierce, focused discipline.
And along with that discipline goes our humble generosity: giving to the church, donations for the food pantry, two years of hair growth to Locks of Love, donations of time and money to Habitat for Humanity, support of Family Promise.
The list of groups that we are humbly generous to is endless. And unknown, since we are humble.
- Ann Warner