I’m still finding last week’s announcement about the “skinny” federal budget infuriating. An American of Irish descent wearing a Book of Kells necktie stood in front of the press and said it was compassionate to *not* feed people through programs funded by the government.
I’m angry, angry at people in Washington and people on social media, but also angry at people I know face-to-face who smugly declare the kinds of things I suspected they thought all along but were careful not to say in politically mixed company until recently emboldened, about their attitude toward government programs that assist the poor, the elderly, children, and others in need.
They seem to be saying,
“We don’t have enough for ourselves to be able to share.”
When the day was almost over, the Twelve came to him and said, “Send the crowd away so that they can go to the nearby villages and countryside and find lodging and food, because we are in a deserted place.”
He replied, “You give them something to eat.”
But they said, “We have no more than five loaves of bread and two fish—unless we go and buy food for all these people.” (They said this because about five thousand men were present.)
Jesus said to his disciples, “Seat them in groups of about fifty.” They did so, and everyone was seated. He took the five loaves and the two fish, looked up to heaven, blessed them, and broke them and gave them to the disciples to set before the crowd. Everyone ate until they were full, and the disciples filled twelve baskets with the leftovers. (Luke 9:12-17, CEB – I read all of chapter 9 today)
The message we’re hearing from Washington is that we would better leave money in the wallets of lower-middle class and poor people who could choose to spend it as they wish. The message we’re hearing from Washington is that people don’t really care about taking care of themselves, so why should anyone else do it for them? The message we’re hearing from Washington is that those with money will have the access they can buy, and the rest of the world can figure out how to get by with nothing. It’s a theology of scarcity; it says if we let other people have a little, we might not be able to keep a lot for ourselves.
Jesus is saying something completely different.
He is saying,
“There is already enough to go around.”
Holy God, may we remember that yours is the love that never lets us go, the grace of twelve baskets of leftovers, the mercy of more than enough for everyone. Amen.
I’m reading and blogging about Luke for Lent. Want to read along? The full schedule can be found here.