“Celebrating God’s Abundance” – that’s our theme this Fall for our Annual Giving Campaign. I’ve realized I’m not very good at that! Contrary to my deepest beliefs about God’s desire for us have all we need, to enjoy this life, I tend to gravitate toward bad news in the newspaper. I seem more interested in news of scarcity than news of abundance; more interested in sorrow and tragedy than in joy.
A while ago, I got an offer for a regular email from the Washington Post called “The Optimist.” It’s a short digest of good-news stories. I signed up to receive “The Optimist,” because I thought it would be good for me. But I confess I have rarely opened and read it…I’m always hurrying on to something else that seems more urgent, more important. What a mistake. I need to see and hear good news much more than bad.
For instance: CEO promises to pay for college tuition not just for employees, but for their kids. Why? He says it’s the best way to make a lasting change in the futures of these families. He wants to invest in the people who are investing their lives in his company. Wow.
In today’s Gospel Jesus speaks of the huge stones which were built into the Jerusalem Temple. Jesus said this huge monument to human greatness – to the religious establishment - would all be thrown down in the end. The world would be turned on its head…upside-down. Conventional thinking would be revolutionized in Jesus’ economy: instead of hoarding wealth, instead of hungering for power over others, God’s abundance would be shared and all would have enough.
What a concept.
We need to hear and treasure the good news of this world (I’m preaching to myself here). If we are Gospel people – people of Good News – we need to share it, hear it, immerse ourselves in it, wherever good news can be found. We know that the world has many troubles, of course. We don’t deny that. But our joy in Christ is meant to shine even in the presence of the world’s darkness. We need to celebrate God’s abundance…until we reach God’s dream of abundance for everybody. The Eucharist, our main act of worship, is a thanksgiving service at its heart. We start with gratitude, and that leads to generosity, and that leads to joy and love. JBM