If I understood the commas correctly in a post today on achurchforstarvingartists.wordpress.com, then over $26 million was given to 4000 nonprofits in one day last week. It was called Giving Tuesday. I had never heard of it, until I received an email that morning from a nonprofit urging me to get in on the excitement. I guess it’s a take off from Black Friday, followed by Cyber Monday, followed by Green Monday which I received information about this morning. When will it all end???!!! The advertising world is doing a phenomenal job at getting our attention. At reminding us that we must have this one perfect thing at this amazing, great deal. Hurry don’t let this discount pass you by! Today is the day, so: charge! Charge! Charge! (And free shipping too!)
It’s really more than ironic this week when the Advent gospel text turns us to John the Baptist, crying out in the wilderness to get ready for a whole different way. He’s trying to get our attention. To get us ready for something more than just buying and selling. Buying that which too often goes forgotten the day after it finally arrives. And selling our souls to that which will never satisfy.
The blog post I read this morning spoke of a compelling vision. It asked the question: does the organization which you represent present a compelling vision? As the author quoted the statistical figures from Giving Tuesday, she concluded that people obviously want to give. I realize that it may not be everybody in this world. I’m guessing we all can tell stories of some very selfish people. Still, I think about people I’ve observed in the past few months alone. I truly can say I often have been amazed by remarkable generosity. Just today I was sent from the church among whom I serve with four large bundles full of goodies and comforts. I was to deliver this amazingly thoughtful, unexpected gift to a husband who faithfully is caring for his dying wife of 68 years while she continues under hospice care. Is there a more compelling vision than being part of a community that seeks to be present to the dying and those whose hearts are breaking as they tend the failing body of their loved one? This is the same community that showed up last week for ones they just are beginning to know whose father died suddenly. The same community that gathers together to worship and learn and enjoy one another each week. All the while waiting for local folks to appear who might be in need of financial assistance or a bag of groceries from the food pantry. If you ask me that’s a pretty compelling vision!
It’s actually called the church – one representation of a body that too often gaines very bad press these days. Don’t get me wrong: in many ways, we’ve earned what we’ve gotten. I think a wise One once said that you reap what you sow. But in so many other ways, we have gone about amazing work. It’s time that we better market our compelling vision: we are the community that does our best to embody the One that is Pure Love. If you’re looking for somewhere to give, I urge you to start there.
Wishing you wonderfully nourishing bread on your journey!