A welcome gift from the church thrift store

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When the Little Thrift Store of the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd in Dunedin, Florida received an ornate pearl collar necklace, it reminded the volunteer staff of the Episcopal Church Women ministry of someone. Instead of adding it to their inventory for sale, they mailed the piece to Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg with a get-well note, saying, “we knew no one could wear it like you.”

Photo credit: Miriam Benitez-Nixon

ABC7 Chicago reports:

Workers sent get well letter to US Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg after the justice had surgery to remove lung cancer. They also sent a pearl collar for her collection. …

The note they penned read: “We pray for your speedy recovery.” 

“She is hanging on. Somebody at her age and what she’s gone through would have probably given up already,” said Miriam Benitez-Nixon. 

Some of the volunteers at the shop are in their 80s as well. 

“And here she is reading her stuff, reading briefs at home while you know, she’s convalescing,” said Benitez-Nixon. 

Justice Ginsberg wrote back, thanking the women and promising to wear the pearl collar on her return to the Supreme Court bench.

Photos of both letters, along with the pearl collar, have been widely shared on Facebook and news outlets.

For a story including video of the Church of the Good Shepherd Little Thrift Store, visit ABC7NY.com. Thanks to the Diocese of Newark on Facebook whose photo story brought the exchange to our attention.

Photo credit: Miriam Benitez-Nixon

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Brother Tom Hudson, OPA
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Brother Tom Hudson, OPA

"While Jesus was in Bethany in the home of Simon the Leper, a woman came to him with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, which she poured on his head as he was reclining at the table. When the disciples saw this, they were indignant. "Why this waste?" they asked. "This perfume could have been sold at a high price and the money given to the poor." Aware of this, Jesus said to them, “Why are you bothering this woman? She has done a beautiful thing to me. The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me. When she poured this perfume on my body, she did it to prepare me for burial. Truly I tell you, wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.” --Matthew 26:6-13

The same story appears in all four gospels, so it must have made an impression on the first Christians. Perhaps we can learn from it today.

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JoS. S Laughon
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To invite comparison here is to, of course, invite comparison between an American political figure and God the Son, which seems inappropriate.

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Gregory Orloff
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Gregory Orloff

Given the messianic adulation paid to some American political figures by some ostensibly religious (and quite well-heeled) figures nowadays, with nary a comment, a protest or a raised eyebrow in many quarters, perhaps thou dost protest too much over this case of simple human kindness and thoughtfulness.

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JoS. S Laughon
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Strange story. A charity donating a piece of a jewelry to a wealthy member of the political elite.

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Gregory Orloff
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Gregory Orloff

Or not that strange of a story. Perhaps just a story of a group of volunteer women sending a get-well gift to a woman in public service whom they admire, to cheer her up while she recovers from a serious challenge to her health. In other words, just a nice human gesture.

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JoS. S Laughon
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Well wishing or gift giving is all well and good. For a Christian charity to redirect funds for the poor for a piece of jewelry for a fairly wealthy and powerful figure seems odd. It was no doubt well intended but poorly thought out, defending it as others on this thread do by comparing it to anointing Christ before His Passion, seems bordering on absurd.

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Gregory Orloff
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Gregory Orloff

The best thing to judge is our own individual motives, frequency and lavishness in what we give (or don't give) in charity to the poor and kindness toward the sick, rather than the motives, frequency and lavishness of others in what they give (or don't give) in charity to the poor and kindness toward the sick. It's part of that whole "splinter in someone else's eye, log in one's own" that Christ Jesus spoke about. God bless these church women for what they do in both regards, be it charity for the poor or kindness toward the sick.

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