Others have noticed it too: they’ve noticed the world’s obsessive insistence on scarcity. According to this worldview, there isn’t enough of anything to go around: not enough resources; not enough food; not enough water; not enough love; not enough forgiveness – not enough of anything we need. The world is in a constant state of shortfall, and there seems to be nothing we can do about it. But this cannot be true. How can a God of infinite abundance, a God spilling over with infinite love for humankind, have created a world which falls short of any single thing we need. Perhaps it is we who fall short in our understanding of the eternal. Perhaps the world of scarcity, of shortfall, the world in which there isn’t enough of anything to go around- perhaps that world has been fashioned entirely by humankind as a cover for its own failure of imagination; its inability to grasp the concept of the eternal, or the infinite, or the superabundant!
The poet G.M. Hopkins saw the created world as inseparable from God. He saw the created world teeming with its abundance of beauty, of fecundity, of generosity, as representing the scale-breaking nature of God’s grace:
The world is charged with the grandeur of God.
It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;
It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
Hopkins saw, not scarcity, but rather this abundance as the foundation of reality:
Glory be to God for dappled things-
For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout
Fresh firecoal chestnut falls; finches wings;
Nothing is so beautiful as Spring-
When weeds in wheels shoot long and lovely and lush……..
It is ourselves we need to change. We need to change if we are to encompass the eternal and the infinite, the superabundant. It has been said that work on ourselves is inseparable from work in the world: that when we change ourselves our values and actions, as well as our perceptions, change as well. Think of the sheer abundance of the miracle of the loaves and fishes. The disciples, faced with the vastness of the crowd who had come to hear Jesus, immediately began to apply the finite and the time-bound to the problem of feeding the crowd: the necessity of finding money for supplies and people to travel to the nearest town to buy them. Jesus, on the other hand, knew that the few loaves and fishes would be enough and more with faith, love and the concept of the infinite close by.
Let us lift our minds, our hearts and our souls out and up from the prison of scarcity we have created for ourselves, and taste of the superabundance of the Almighty. Let us pray to be enabled to imagine the eternal and the infinite. Let us share abundantly with each other in the knowledge that there will always be more than enough for need, never enough for greed.