Scarcity drives common daily experiences in our world, yet God invites us to trust his ability to abundantly provide. In this sermon, Osheta Moore offers us a liturgy of abundance so that we can embrace God’s abundance in the midst of scarcity.
A scarcity mindset activates a variety of anxieties in us, anxieties about our safety, our future, our capacity, and most of all anxiety about the character of God. When we face the various expressions of scarcity like homelessness, poverty, and need in the world we are faced with a never-ending pit of growing scarcity. As Kingdom people, how are we to respond? God invites us to cultivate an abundance mindset. Simply put, an abundance mindset is adjusting our perception of time, talents, and treasures as not a finite resource but gifts from a generous God that have the capacity to increase. We cultivate this mindset with what Walter Brugemman calls the liturgy of abundance: take, bless, break and give.
When Jesus entered into Jerusalem on the Sunday before Easter—as we read in Mark 11:1-10, he rode a colt, and the people laid down palm leaves and yelled “Hosanna!” which means “save us.” During that time, a king would have ridden a horse when he was bent on war and ridden a donkey to symbolize his arrival in peace. Jesus’ entry to Jerusalem would have thus symbolized his entry as the Prince of Peace, not as a war-waging king. This declares that the way of the Kingdom of God is one of power-under, humility and vulnerability, not power-over dominion and coercion.
Palm Sunday is about seeing the true nature of the King who brought forth God’s Kingdom and how it is radically different than what we expect. It is a time of examining our commitment to Jesus as King so as to not be like the fickle crowd in the time of Jesus who proclaimed him as king and then less than a week later screamed “crucify him.”
This applies to the challenge we face with scarcity thinking. Brene Brown writes, “We spend inordinate amounts of time calculating how much we have, want and don’t have, and how much everyone else has, needs and wants….we are often comparing our lives, our marriages, our families, and our communities to unattainable, media-driven versions of perfection, or we’re holding up our reality against our own fictional account of how great someone else has it.”
A scarcity mindset generates a response of fear as it shines a spotlight on areas where we believe we don’t have enough. It contributes to a visceral feeling of lack of safety, provision, and care that can either be actual or simply perceived.
To confront this, we need to develop a Liturgy of Abundance—the people of God telling the story of how God provided in the midst of scarcity. This is illustrated in the feeding of the five thousand, which we can read in Matthew 14:13-21. In the midst of hunger when there was nothing to eat, Jesus provided so much that there was food left over. In this story we see the four steps of a liturgy of abundance:
These are four actions of prayer that will train us to receive God’s abundance when we are struggling with the fears that are created by the scarcity that dominates our world.
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