One day while the Israelites were wandering through the wilderness, they were grumbling because they couldn’t find any food. Many were saying, “Wasn’t it great when we were slaves in Egypt? We had plenty to eat! And now—we’re looking at you, Moses—we’re going to die in the desert.” God told Moses, “Okay, I’m going to give them something to eat. They’ll call it ‘manna from heaven.’ Tell them that they will have as much as they need.” That’s what Moses told the people. In the morning, they found it scattered on the ground.
“Moses said to them, ‘Let no one leave any of it over until [next] morning.’ But they did not listen to Moses; some left part of it until morning, and it bred worms and became foul. And Moses was angry with them” (Exodus 16:19-20).
They chose the path of hoarding. Does that sound familiar?
(Did they have toilet paper?)
At the last session meeting (that’s Presbyterian-speak for board of elders), we had an extended discussion on the uncharted territory our congregation and the whole world find ourselves in. What to do? How to worship? How to care for one other?
We could choose the path of hoarding. I’ve got mine. Go fend for yourself.
We decided to go another way. We’ll be worshipping online. We will be having prayer times, classes, and other opportunities for sacred space.
The coming weeks and months will not be easy. (That’s no doubt a colossal understatement.) We can choose to hoard, or we can choose to share. Every Sunday we hear the Trinitarian benediction, “May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship (or communion) of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” The Greek word for “fellowship” is κοινωνια (koinonia), which at root means “sharing.”
When we hoard, we wind up losing what we think we had. The apostle Paul reminds the Corinthian church, “you know the generous act of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich” (2 Corinthians 8:9).
Together, we will find new ways to be “sharing.” Let us share, not hoard, the physical means of living and thriving. Let us share, not hoard, the care and companionship that bring support to each other. Let us share, not hoard, the living Word who frees us from the chains of fear and panic.
“Do not fear, for I am with you, do not be afraid, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my victorious right hand” (Isaiah 41:10).