This Pentecost Sunday, I chose the alternate gospel reading. Rather than hearing of the traditional flames of the Holy Spirit, we heard instead Jesus speak of the Holy Spirit bringing forth rivers of living water.
In the midst of daily life, as we look around, we can see that sin, like a drought, or pollution, or the twisting of the proper order of things abounds, creating the scarcity out of the abundance that God gives. And we are set at war with one another. We want what is ours. We fight, nation against nation, state against state. Communities and individuals are pitted against one another. All because of what is perceived as a zero-sum game. Scarcity does that to us. If someone else has a resource it means we don’t. If they have one, they we have a lack of it. This vision drives much of our thinking, our public policy, and our interactions with others. The resource could be actual natural resources, like water, coal, oil, wind, trees and so on. Or it can be other good gifts that God gives us: family, sex, occupations, education, the political governances we have and more. But often we camouflage the gifts and create conflicts, twisting these signs of beneficent providence, of good gifts God means for us to use and share as a sign of what God desires for the whole world.
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