Saturday, May 03, 2014

Ask Anything

“Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever believes in me will do the works that I do, and will do greater ones than these, because I am going to the Father.  And whatever you ask in my name, I will do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.  If you ask anything of me in my name, I will do it.”  John 14:12-14

Jesus then said to those Jews who believed in him, “If you remain in my word, you will truly be my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”  John 8:31-32

There is a friend from college who lives on the other side of the country.  We don’t see each other very often.  Many years may pass between our visits to the coast where the other lives.  However, there are times when I am thinking about how he and his family are doing.  And the phone rings…and it is him on the other end of the line.

Jesus is like that far away friend.  He asks us to stay with him.  He promises us that he will stick by us no matter what.  To stay on course, He invites us to reconnect daily and weekly in celebration with our community.  When we least expect it, he will communicate with us so we can stay committed to the way, the truth and the life.

We all tend to be tied up in pursuit of the American Dream.  Along the way, we pick up a few boat anchors that slow us down or get us off course.  Is there another dream that might be more authentic and Gospel-based? Jesus might say that His way is the true Heavenly Dream that will set us free from the detours we face on the current path.

Sharing is one of the first things we learn in kindergarten according to Robert Fulgum (All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten).  However, the spirit of sharing usually fades as we become adults. Our houses become filled with our own “stuff.” Garages, attics, basements, and closets transform into cluttered warehouses. When we need something, whether it’s a chainsaw or a roasting rack, our first thought is to go out and buy it. But why get it new when our neighbor down the street has one we can borrow?

Today, our neighborhood is having a community yard sale.  This is a nice way to pass along some of the detritus of suburban living to others who might need your old clothes, tools, books and appliances more than you do. 

Maybe we should take this one step further.  On a web page this week, there is an article about excess consumption that had a compelling lead:  

Did you know that the average power drill only gets used 6 to 13 minutes in its lifetime? Think of all the resources it took to produce that drill and countless other products like it… and sharing begins to make perfect sense from an environmental standpoint.

We’re all familiar with the concept of sharing, but “collaborative consumption” takes sharing to a new level.  It not only counteracts the extensive consumption that’s caused many of our greatest environmental challenges: it strengthens our community ties, too. Access (to tools, shelter, and other resources) is taking the place of ownership in the new economy, and it’s freeing us up for the things that really enrich our lives: family, friends and experiences.

What can you share (rather than buy) that will give your neighbors access to the tools they need?  If we had more resources for sharing on a community-wide basis, we could be freed up from acquisition and focused on building up what is really important.  The early community described in the Acts of the Apostles shared ownership of everything.  As our Easter season reminds us of the roots of Christian community, consider how we can take steps to return to that spirit.

There are things we’re already used to sharing, such as books at the library, but with online networks it’s easy to match available goods and services with needs.  What can you share or donate today to make more room in your life for the real way, truth and life?

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