We have been talking about abundance at church. Abundance can’t just mean outer circumstances. We all know about the misery of some wealthy people, suicides in mansions, overdoses by the outwardly beautiful. Some of the most abundant people I have ever known, always having something to give, have been people who were once homeless. Recently I went through Paul’s letters to see what he had to say about abundance. I was surprised to see that he talked the most about abundance, about what God could do beyond all we can ask or think, when he was in prison. No, it is not just outward circumstances.
But perhaps we can say that abundance isn’t just about inward circumstances, either. There’s too much in the stories of Jesus about net-breaking fish hauls, baskets full of fish and bread from a little boy’s lunch, over the top amounts of fine wine at the wedding. There’s an inward and outward part of abundance, and an ability to enjoy the abundance when it is there. I remember reading a quote by Simone Weil thirty years ago–I can’t locate it now. She said something like this–“we are all under judgment because we don’t appreciate the tidal wave of beauty that confronts us every moment.” Terrible things happen–one part of abundance is learning to appreciate a sliver of the tidal wave of beauty in the midst of those terrible things.