Walter Brueggemann in his book Inscribing the Text writes about Generosity
On our own, we conclude:
there is not enough to go around
we are going to run short
we should seize the day
seize our goods
seize our neighbours goods
because there is not enough to go around
and in the midst of our perceived deficit
you come giving bread in the wilderness
you come giving children at the 11th hour
you come giving homes to exiles
you come giving futures to the shut down
you come giving easter joy to the dead
you come – fleshed in Jesus.
and we watch while
the blind receive their sight
the lame walk
the lepers are cleansed
the deaf hear
the dead are raised
the poor dance and sing
and we take food we did not grow and
life we did not invent and
future that is gift and gift and gift and
families and neighbours who sustain us
when we did not deserve it.
It dawns on us – late rather than soon-
that you “give food in due season
you open your hand
and satisfy the desire of every living thing.”
By your giving, break our cycles of imagined scarcity
override our presumed deficits
quiet our anxieties of lack
transform our perceptual field to see
the abundance………mercy upon mercy
blessing upon blessing.
Sink your generosity deep into our lives
that your muchness may expose our false lack
that endlessly receiving we may endlessly give
so that the world may be made Easter new,
without greedy lack, but only wonder,
without coercive need but only love,
without destructive greed but only praise
without aggression and invasiveness….
all things Easter new…..
all around us, toward us and
all things Easter new.
Finish your creation, in wonder, love and praise. Amen.” *
Time is so often wasted in worrying about ‘running short.’ In a general sense we hoard almost everything from teabags to tenderness. We are often so afraid that we will not again see, feel or experience something that we weigh ourselves down with seizing what we can – we seize, we claim, we own, we protect! And yet, as people of The Way we follow the One who taught those closest to him to release, to disavow, to become poor, to be free! This profound and precocious Prince of Peace invited followers to unbind, to set free, to lose, to lighten up! And yet, we still see deficit, and a dearth of ….. (fill in the blank)! This is exacerbated by the consumer culture in which we live, where the daily mantra seems to be more, more, more!
We are called to generosity which means that our focus is not on sacristy (or the perception of sacristy). This was a radical message when Jesus walked the earth and it is a radical message today. The freedom to be generous sets us free to be an Easter people. Our prayer indeed needs to be that God’s generosity might indeed ‘break our cycles of imagined scarcity override our presumed deficits, quiet our anxieties of lack.’ That God’s loving generosity with us would call us to response. ‘Sink your generosity deep into our lives that your muchness may expose our false lack, that endlessly receiving we may endlessly give…’
For it is when we embrace the generosity of God and respond to it with a giving spirit that we are made ‘Easter new!’ Regardless of what we own or do not own, regardless of what we have secured or what we have failed to secure, regardless of what we have gained or lost to this point on our journey, we are a people who know that God
comes giving bread in the wilderness…giving children at the 11th hour…giving homes to exiles…giving futures to the shut down…giving Easter joy to the dead…
We know that God comes fleshed in Jesus…and knowing as much, we pray for the willingness to respond to our endless receiving by endlessly giving ….. because indeed as God’s beloved – we have so very much to give.
*Inscribing the Text: Sermons and Prayers of Walter Brueggemann p.3-4