I first learned about the theology of zucchini in my first Call in Attica, NY. The lesson came in the form of a bag of zucchini on the back porch and was followed by subsequent gifts found in my office at the church, and the back seat of my unlocked car. I learned that summer why folks in rural areas locked their doors… and it had nothing to do with fear of crime.
A theology of abundance is built on the trust that regardless of what is going on in the world, there will always be enough to share. In contrast, scarcity states that regardless of what is going on in the world, we will always need more than we have.
There are scores of examples of abundance in scripture. Think of the garden, manna and Jesus suggesting we consider the lilies. I’m hard pressed to think of times in scripture where a theology of scarcity is lifted, indeed, it seems to be the antithesis to the cross.
Note that the theology of abundance assumes relationships with others. I may not have all that I need, but my neighbor’s situation is different and the next thing I know, there’s zucchini on my porch as well as a shoulder to cry on. There is enough, not just because I’m enough… but because WE are enough.
As Walter Bruggeman points out, this isn’t something that is Republican or Democrat, this is something that is Jesus. It’s central to our ecclesiology (theology of the church) in that we proclaim that the church is to be the community of faith, trusting God alone, even at the risk of its own life. This is what we do. We care for one another, and somehow that’s enough.
Sometimes what we have is not an abundance of good things to share (time, talent, zucchini, treasure) but just the opposite. As I’ve returned from vacation I’ve received calls from colleagues and congregations that are dealing with an abundance of… well, the polite word would be “stuff”. Some of our churches are dealing with a world of pain right now. As a connectional church, we share together in the work of bringing healing and wholeness to one another.
I’m not asking you to leave your doors unlocked. I’m asking you to unlock your hearts, your wallets, and your calendar to share what you have with those in need. If you share, we’ll have enough. Together.