Every year, in what i call “stewardship season,” i revisit Brueggeman’s “The Liturgy of Abundance.” I have come to love this season in the life of the church, which is ironic, because it used to scare me to death. Appropriate that it came around Halloween, really. Like many clergy, I left seminary feeling pretty good about the 3 P’s–preaching, program and pastoral care–but utterly inept and ill-equipped for the administrative work of the church.
Many things have changed that, including experience, good mentoring, and ultimately the fact that i no longer view stewardship as administrative…but maybe that’s a post for another day. This is about my own “myth of scarcity”–the myth that Bruggeman says was introduced to the world economy by Pharoah, and has been driving our every ill and evil ever since.
Talk about a Halloween story…it’s horrific, really, how driven we are by fears of not enough…time, talent, money, stuff, energy, space, food, fuel, love. If you think about it, everything you ever worry about has to do with not enough something or other.
ANYway, i was driving home and thinking about my own ‘not enoughs,’ and wondering if the myth of scarcity might apply to that great fear of good preachers everywhere–that we don’t have enough good news to share. Sometimes, an endless expanse of Sundays unfurls ahead of that pulpit, and you think…can i really say something good and true and meaningful, 48 times a year for another (trying to remember how old i am) 30 YEARS!! Insert Halloween gulps and shivers here. i’m not a math person, but damn, people. That’s like, 1400+ sermons, Lord willing and the creek don’t rise.So i’m driving, almost home, doing this terrifying math bit and wondering…do i have enough? And then–over my head, right over my house, shoots this spectacular, Pixar quality, not-to-be-believed falling meteor. I’ve had few literal jaw drop moments in my life, but this was one.
I try to not throw this kind of language around too much–it almost always comes off sounding selfish, or like romanticized utter nonsense. But tonight i can say, out loud and without cringing, that this really AWEsome bit of nature was a sign. Because in it, God said something out loud. Not there is enough of you… But rather, there is enough of me. I Am.
And there is. Enough God, enough holy, enough good news, to fill that endless expanse of Sabbaths and to answer our every ‘not enough.’
I should share that I’ve seen a natural spectacle like that at only one other time in my life… I was in North Dakota, standing on a dark prairie, alone. It was a place of geographic desolation and stark beauty that a Kentucky girl could not have fathomed. And at the moment that unearthly thing shot over my head, i was acknowledging my first inkling of a call to ministry. Then, as now, it was over so quickly i scarcely believed it. Then, as now, i took it as a sign.
Not that the great big universe had a specific message FOR ME alone…but that, over every fear or hesitation i might feel in life, and in calling, there resides something greater and lasting. The sign was a blazing streak of light that said “God is. And is enough.”
The wonder is that we ever forget it.