All of us in the room received it: the kind, albeit very serious, gaze of Bishop Hope. She had just announced the Lenten focus – God’s Abundant Generosity.
“I look forward to reading all of your Lenten devotions,” she said. A small part of me panicked. Surely, I can write about this. But I confess, the words did not come, and the ones that did come seemed shallow and self-centered.
God’s generosity has filled my life. I struggle, however, when I look out on a world where so many of God’s children live in deep pain, physically, emotionally, or spiritually. How do I reconcile the privilege and good fortune of my life, with the pain of others? I have not had a pain-free life, but never have I gone to bed wondering how I would feed one of my children the next day or whether or not a bomb would find us this night. Never have I had to worry about my lily-white teenage boys out in the world, even wearing a hoodie. Never have I had to worry that one of my children would be bullied or excluded from the church because they are a part of the LGBTQ community.
I have rested in this spiritually uncomfortable place. In these places of disquiet and struggle, God’s Spirit comes and speaks, when I have ears to hear. I realize that in my privilege, I often miss something much deeper about God’s abundant generosity: a generosity that draws those who are hurting, scared and suffering into God’s presence.
God’s abundance is not about physical or material well-being, but about a love that finds us, especially in the most broken places of our lives, surrounds us, transforms us, and then calls us forth to share that abundant love, forgiveness and grace with the world.