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Gratitude Matters: Let's stop singing the "Litany of Scarcity"

Cynthia McChesney, Christ Church, Short Hills

First thought in the morning: I didn't get enough sleep last night. Last thought at night: I didn't get enough done today. Sound familiar? Author Lynne Twist, in The Soul of Money, calls those thoughts (and everything that goes on in our heads in between), examples of our culture’s "litany of scarcity."

Aren’t we all vulnerable to living into that litany of scarcity even more thoroughly today? After all, thinking just of our church lives, there are so many things we want to talk about missing, our church buildings, our fellowship, our music.

Scarcity versus abundance. But were we reveling in our abundance before? Hmmm, not really. A stubborn insistence on seeing the world through our culture's lens of scarcity makes us blind to abundance, even when God’s gifts are all around us. If we insist on what we don’t have, we ignore what we do, and what can be possible.

In a recent Zoom coffee hour at my church, one of our parishioners, who had moved out of state a few months ago, joined the online service and call afterward. She was so grateful to see everyone, to still experience the worship and fellowship despite the miles between us. And we were so grateful to see her too! Someone said, how can we keep this going even when we’re back in church?

Those experiences are available to us even in a time of lockdown, yes, because of technology certainly, but just as important is a willingness to try something new. Let’s see that creativity and initiative extend into “what’s next.” It’s an energy that is released when we stop singing the litany of scarcity and open ourselves up to a fuller sense of God’s abundance. #GratitudeMatters.