Home Events Sermon 10-13-2019: “Enough and Some to Share”

Sermon 10-13-2019: “Enough and Some to Share”

Scripture: Proverbs 3:5-6

 

Last year, we passed a $25,000 deficit budget — a deficit almost completely owing to the fact that you all built this building, full of welcome.

We stood around breathing Spirit in to quell the anxiety of a significant budget deficit and no clear path to closing it. We stood around remembering the story that led us here to this building and trusting that, wild as She is, Spirit is also good. And that we would not come to this place to be abandoned. As the scripture told us today, we stood around this sacred space, leaning not on our own understanding but on God’s immense enough-ness. 

We stood here and sang a simple song:

There is enough. There is enough. There is enough, Lord, enough and some to share.

 

A long time ago, the people of God left Egypt and wound up in the desert. They wandered without any way to know for sure where the story would go. They ran out of food. They breathed in Spirit to quell the anxiety of a significant food deficit and no clear path to dinner. They trusted that, wild as She is, Spirit is also good. They breathed in the reality that they would not have come to this place to be abandoned. As the Scripture today told them, they leaned away from their own understandings and into the wild imagination of a God who is enough.

And in the morning it literally rained down bread on them. Like the morning dew, sustenance appeared. They called it manna. Manna roughly translated means: What is this? But manna has come to mean God’s providence. It has come to mean enough. And I think that’s really fitting. How often in our lives have each of us felt like we were pressed up against a wall that we had no idea how to overcome? Maybe we didn’t know where our next meal would come from. Maybe we didn’t know where the ability to stay sober another day would come from. Maybe we didn’t know where our next job or gig or hug or smile or life-saving moment of laughter would come from. And somehow, something came. Always surprising. Often in odd ways. Maybe from odd people. Or at an odd little church. 

We’re facing some sort of deficit, and then something comes. And we say “What is this?” Manna.

Another interesting thing about this strange morning bread was that there was exactly enough. Gather what you can. Share so that all have exactly what they need. If you store extra for yourself, it will rot.

You can imagine the Hebrew people singing:

There is enough. There is enough. There is enough, Lord, enough and some to share.

 

Long ago there was a prophet named Elijah. He went to a place called Zarepath and found a widow there. Now, widows in this world were usually destitute. Women couldn’t own land. Land was everything. So, naturally, widows had nothing, or next to nothing. To make matters worse, there was a drought. Whatever small patch of land or generosity of neighbors she had to grow or receive food was literally dried up. You could say their whole existence was deficit. Elijah picked her of all people to impose upon. He asked her for bread and water.

She told him that she didn’t have bread and water. Only a few last bits of flour and some oil. She was headed home to make one last meal for her son, and then to die. She had understandably lost her ability to quell the anxiety of not having enough. She could not close the gap between what she had and what she needed. She was fresh out of stories to affirm that as much as Spirit is wild, She is also good. To the widow, Spirit appeared to be absent at best. 

And I know many of us have lived in a space like that. Maybe not extreme poverty. But a space of abandonment. A space of making peace with a reality that we are alone and Spirit is not winging her way to rescue us. Feeling that we have nothing left to lean on but feeling a responsibility to find a way through or to play hospice to those suffering alongside us, we lean on our own understanding. And that understanding is that the end is upon us.

You all, I feel the widow of Zarepath in my bones as a parent in these late days of climate change. Maybe you feel it too.

And maybe this story happened. Or maybe it’s an ancient near eastern fairy tale. But as Rob Bell tells us about stories in the Bible, maybe what’s important isn’t that they happened — but that they happen. They speak to a reality beyond their pages. They speak to a way that stories form. A way that Spirit behaves in our wild and unpredictable world.

The story pushes past the widow’s earned despair.

Elijah tells her to go home, make him some bread, and trust that her oil will last until the rains. And indeed, she had food every day. Not too much. Enough. And she shared.

And with her life if not with her words, she sang:

There is enough. There is enough. There is enough, Lord, enough and some to share.

 

Long ago there was a young leader. Crowds gathered around him. There were probably over 10,000 folks of various economic levels gathered, showing no sign of leaving. The young leader’s friends became worried that the people needed food. So the leader asked them to bring him what they had. In one version of the story, the leader’s friends brought a young boy’s packed lunch. Regardless whose little meal it was, there was a sizable deficit between the food gathered and the need of the people. 

The leader placed his heart in that space between deficit and plenty as he joyfully received the meager portions. He stood tall on his confidence that Spirit is wild and good as he lifted the child’s snack into the sky to bless and give thanks for it. He boldly stepped away from human understanding and into mystery as he broke the borrowed food and shared it, trusting that his growing revolution of love wasn’t done growing, that there was more story to tell, and that this moment of hunger in the wilderness would become a part of a story of enough. And he shared the meal with everyone saying: Take and eat.

And somehow, as they passed the nearly empty basket of food, there was enough as everyone shared. 

Imagine a choir of 10,000 singing:

There is enough. There is enough. There is enough, Lord, enough and some to share.

 

And last year, we stood here singing that song. Pressing past our own understanding and the sincere apprehension that maybe there would not be enough, let alone some to share. And we passed a budget with a significant deficit.

Now, that apprehension that there may not be enough and some to share is real. And it is not faithless. Seattle has a homelessness epidemic. There is such a thing as medical bankruptcy. Globally, children die every day of starvation. People go without housing. Without clothes. Without necessary resources.

And animals, entire species, are dying from a lack of necessary nutrients and habitat. 

It is easy to look at this world and say: There is not enough, let alone some to share.

Or, we create a false theology that when you are faithful, when you pray, when you take risks — as we did last year — Spirit, then, is faithful in return. So long as you believe it, there is enough and some to share.

But you can feel the harm of that theology as you imagine sharing it with the neighbors who live outside in this very neighborhood.

Here’s the thing: There is enough and some to share. This is a foundational belief in the Judeo-Christian understanding of the world. It is all over the Scriptures we hold dear. Some of us may wonder if there is a bodily resurrection or not — but you cannot read this book cover to cover and not know that there is indeed enough and some to share. It is written into Creation.

But! Like the manna, there is only enough and some to share when we do indeed share. When millionaires and billionaires and oil companies and water bottling plants and beef farmers trying to nestle into the rain forest take up more than their fair share, the goodness and enough-ness of creation starts to rot.

Jesus broke the bread and shared it.

The widow made the bread and shared it.

The wandering Hebrew people gathered the bread and shared it.

And there was enough. Enough and plenty to share. Enough so long as we share.

This is the nature of our world. Like some old magic etched beneath the earth’s crust or into the face of the sun: There is enough so long as we share.

 

So I want to talk again about our budget deficit last year.

We passed a deficit budget that was bare bones. We peeled off every piece of budget we could. As tight a ship as possible. But hidden in that sparse budget was one thing we increased: Giving to the Duwamish. 

And almost immediately, our rentals increased and CAGJ and the Washington State Fair Trade Coalition moved in upstairs. By the way, you all — they came to us not through an exhaustive search, but by a relationship in an accidental way we just as easily could have missed. You all, Spirit’s fingerprints are all over our upstairs rental!

We watched income outpace expenditures and you all took that enough and shared. You shared the building with nonprofits. You shared finances and time with Plymouth Healing Communities. You shared finances with Real Change and CAGJ and others.

We lived that Gospel — good news — song — that there is indeed enough and some to share.

 

So, we are back into that season of pledging and plotting for another year of living love and justice in the world together. It is budgeting season.

Our theme for the next few weeks is “Living the dream.”

Last year we passed a bare bones budget and we were met with plenty. So this year we dream about what it will look like to put flesh back on those bare bones. Who will we give to? What programs will we offer? How will we share our time and our souls along with our finances? How will we care for our own inner journey even as we outwardly journey with each other and with neighbors? 

You all, if there is one thing this last year shows us as a church, it is that God is up to something. And if God, the God of manna and of widow’s portions, and who feeds thousands — if God is up to something, we’d best dream wildly along. And, as always, anchor ourselves in the art of sharing.

Sharing our finances.

Sing with me: There is enough. There is enough. There is enough, Lord, enough and some to share.

Sharing our building.

Sing with me: There is enough. There is enough. There is enough, Lord, enough and some to share.

Sharing our time and ourselves.

Sing with me: There is enough. There is enough. There is enough, Lord, enough and some to share.

Sharing even with our own souls as we breathe deeply, find quiet moments to listen, and give our own selves the gift of time with Spirit and time to rest.

Sing with me: There is enough. There is enough. There is enough, Lord, enough and some to share.

Dream wildly as you welcome wildly, dear Welcome Table. For we know in a deep place, beyond understanding, that there is enough as long as we share.

Sing with me one more time:

There is enough. There is enough. There is enough, Lord, enough and some to share.

 

Date

Oct 13 2019
Expired!
Category

Speaker

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