Thursday, December 1, 2011

Advent, Day 5: Richness

Today's reading: 1 Corinthians 1:1-9

... in every way you have been enriched in him, in speech and knowledge of every kind--just as the testimony of Christ has been strengthened among you--so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift as you wait... (v. 5-7a)

When the economy is in a slump (is that an understatement?), it is News.

When the economy's NOT in a slump (um, remember those days?), it is News.

Eavesdropping on Paul's thankfulness, his grateful memory of the beloved congregation in Corinth, it seems a stark contrast to the worry and fear that's in front of us every time we turn on the t.v., click a web link, or scan our way through the radio dial. It's The News these days--how those who Have are concerned about keeping, those who Have Not are afraid they might never, and most of us in the middle are just wishing everything would get back to "normal" (and trying to reassure ourselves that this isn't what is "normal" now!).

Sometimes it feels like the whole purpose of the News is to make sure that we stay worried, fearful, anxious, and combative... when I feel I'm on an even keel, concentrating on the real life that is in front of me every day, a few minutes of the evening news or a quick click on a Google link will remind me that I should be angry (with either the Haves or the Nots, depending on who's doing the talking), tense, and afraid of losing everything I think I've rightfully earned.

The Apostle's encouragement to the Corinthian church is an eloquent reminder that our wealth is never in dollars and cents--whether we have full pockets or not is a matter of practicality, not of personhood. What we Have, what we pray for all people to Have, is richness of spirit. If only it could be said of us--as individuals and as nations--that despite our GDPs we "have been enriched in him." If only our "speech and knowledge" reflected his testimony. If only instead of fretting over our lack of bank accounts, we could rejoice that we "are not lacking in any spiritual gift."

As we wait... as we wait for the One Who Comes... may we turn our attention toward the News that is always Good: that he calls us not to financial statements, but to fellowship; not to credit lines, but to community; not even to be solvent, but to be saints.

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