We have enjoyed an abundance of sunshine this weekend in DC. We should all rejoice. The sun has resurrected an abundance of daffodils. Last night an abundance of coyotes yipped and yelled on the section to the northwest.
We, you and I, are familiar with the concept abundance. We view it as a quantitative concept rather than a qualitative concept. Abundance centers on the amount of any commodity…flour, toilet paper, meat. We relax in the abundance of sunshine. We rejoice with the abundance of daffodils. We pause at the abundance of coyotes and their anarchy.
The line between abundance and excess is ill-defined but exists. We know what it means to have too much sunshine, too many daffodils, too many coyotes. We generally know these things by their consequences after the fact and rarely in the moment. Too much sunshine brings drought. Too many daffodils lead to allergies (OK, that’s a stretch, I don’t know what the consequences of having too many daffodils are.) Too many coyotes lead to too few squirrels and turkeys and chickens.
To flip the concept, the quality of abundance suggests depth rather than mere excess. The quality of abundance isn’t about enough or too much. The quality of abundance suggests intensity of scope and breadth and width.
In the 10th chapter of John, Jesus uses a simile…I AM the gate through which the sheep come and go. Jesus extends the metaphor to make a qualitative statement about his life and ministry. Jesus said, “I came that they may have life…and have it abundantly.” Richard Swanson, professor and professional storyteller, suggests the translation, “I came in order that life they should have and that they should have too much.”
I wonder if Jesus meant this in purely religious terms? That we should have too much of the love of God, too much of the Kingdom of God, too much grace, too much hope, too much transformation? I like to think that Jesus applied this abundance to so much more than purely religious, spiritual terms. Too much life, love, Kingdom, grace, hope, and transformation AND SO MUCH MORE…the toomuchness of relationship, compassion, laughter, heartache, peace, conflict, harmony, dissonance. These things may ALSO be religious, but I don’t believe Jesus wanted to limit the abundance, toomuchness of life.
Our task these days is to minimize the quantity of the too much and maximize the quality of the too much. This may require us to shift some priorities, to reconsider what we value and how we are valued in the world around us. I believe we all want an abundant life. I believe we all can have an abundant life. We simply must choose the abundance of quality over the abundance of quantity.
I love you.
[I need you.]
I hope for you.
Please be safe.