by Ann Fontaine
Yonder is the great and wide sea
with its living things too many to number, *
creatures both small and great.
There move the ships,
and there is that Leviathan, *
which you have made for the sport of it. Psalm 104:26-27
Saturday, driving from Nehalem to Cannon Beach, I stopped at Neahkahnie Mountain to look for gray whales. It was one of those blue sky days where it looks like you can see the curvature of the earth. Since we moved from Wyoming to the Oregon Coast I stop to look for the whales in the spring and fall when they are migrating but no luck. This time – there they were – leaping and blowing great spouts of water. I could see them with my own eyes but also had my binoculars so could see them even better.
A couple from Europe was standing there – I said “Can you see the whales?” They said they had been looking all during their trip but had not. I pointed them toward the whales. The whales are not as far out in the ocean as people sometimes think. The couple was delighted. I let them use my binoculars as their’s were low power.
A few weeks ago a young man wrote that his grandmother always said,
“don’t give … share.”
I have been thinking about the difference – giving and sharing. Saturday I had an example – sharing has the sense of delight. Giving feels more like something I should do. Sharing is something I want to do.
When I offer money or my time or share something I know how to do – it is better when I have realize that sense of delight and joy. I am richer for sharing. The couple and I shared mutual delight – their joy increased mine on the day of seeing whales.
When we talk about stewardship as we often do at this time of year I want to have this sense of sharing and delight in whatever I offer. There is a passage in the Bible that says if you can’t get to the temple with your offering – give a party for your friends and neighbors. That’s it.
The Rev. Ann Fontaine is a retired priest who lives on the coast of Oregon and attends St Catherine Episcopal Church. She is the author of Streams of Mercy: a meditative commentary on the Bible.