It is a difficult season for everyone. Shut-down buildings, changed
schedules, Social Distancing, Zoom meetings and empty grocery shelves.
Yes, we are dealing with a pandemic and a serious health risk, but I was not
expecting the level of hoarding resources that I experienced in this
community. I have been reading a book by MaryAnne McKibben Dana
entitled, God, Improv and the Art of Living. Rev. McKibben Dana
connects our faith life with her love for improvisational theatre, and the
reality that God is in the midst of the action – planned or otherwise. “Refuse
to Hoard” is one of the last chapters in this delightful book. The author
proclaims that in writing, improv and faith, we need to “spend it all,” -freely
share our words, our jokes and our belief, -but that runs counter to much of
our culture. And this can be seen by the events of the past two weeks. There
isn’t going to be enough bottled water, milk, hand sanitizer, toilet paper and
McKibben Dana writes: “Yet the way of Jesus is to give sacrificially – and
to receive in the same manner. Jesus’ ministry was fueled by the
hospitality of friends and supporters who hosted him, prepared meals,
and allowed the crowds into their homes to hear his message – not
because it was prudent or personally advantageous, but because it was the gracious thing to do. And in turn, Jesus gave the best of himself to people in need of wholeness, community, a good word, or simply a decent meal with five thousand of his closest friends. Hoarding has no place in the reign of God.
The greatest commandment, according to Jesus, is to love God and to
love our neighbor as we love ourselves. Some people appear to love
themselves more than their neighbor, so they hoard what they have…
Other people find it much easier to love their neighbor than themselves, and as a consequence they give so sacrificially that they’re
unable to receive the care of others – even when they’re hurting…
Both mindsets come from a hoarding impulse – the idea that there’s not
enough to go around. And faith, like improvisational theatre, refuses
to live in that mentality.”
During seasons of stress and uncertainty, “Hoarding has no place in the reign of God.” During seasons of freedom and certitude, “Hoarding has no place in the reign of God.” May we remember that we are called to love our
neighbor and demonstrate that the kingdom of God is here, now, by sharing
the gifts that we hold in trust for God’s ministry in this world!
I continue to pray for you and your loved ones! Please wash your hands!
Rev. Dr. Philip W. Oehler, Sr.