Holy Week: On Generosity


On our own, we conclude: 

that there is not enough to go around 

we are going to run short 

of money 

of love 

of grades 

of publications 

of sex 

of beer 

of members 

of years

of life 

we should seize the day 

seize the goods 

seize our neighbor’s goods 

because there is not enough to go around. 

And in the midst of our perceived deficit: 

You come 

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. 

We watch 

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 neighbors who sustain us 

when we do 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 

by us 

all things Easter new. 

Finish your creation … in wonder, love, and praise. Amen. 

Walter Brueggemann / Columbia Theological Seminary chapel service / September 26, 2002