[Transcript of video]
Hi I’m Karl Hand, I’m an Elder and a Pastor and I live on Wangal Country, and minister in Gadagal Country of the Eora Nation which is now called Sydney Australia.
This reflection is about economic justice.
And often around this time of year, we remember the way that the family of Jesus looked for shelter, and the keeper of the inn said, “we don’t have enough, we can’t give you anything.”
Maybe they were genuinely full up, but what stays with us is what an incredible honor and joy they missed out on because they didn’t have room for one more family.
I think one of the most destructive lies we have been led to believe is that if our neighbor has something more than us, or something we don’t have, we are worse off because of it. Like somehow them being greater diminishes us.
And I put a name on that lie, it is a scarcity mentality.
NOW, There is another moment in the Christmas story which I wish we heard more often… in Luke 1:41-44, Mary the soon-to-be mother of Jesus is visiting Elizabeth, who is also pregnant with John the Baptist.
When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. With a loud voice she blurted out, “God has blessed you above all women, and he has blessed the child you carry. Why do I have this honor, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as I heard your greeting, the baby in my womb jumped for joy.
Elizabeth responds not with a scarcity mentality, but from a place of abundance.
She could have worried that Mary’s arrival would detract from her own moment in the spotlight. She could have said, “Mary is giving birth to the Messiah, and all I have is this lousy prophet for a son.”
That’s what a scarcity mentality says to us.
Instead she says, “why do I have this honor, that you come and visit me.”
The abundance mentality says, if you have more, then we are all better off together.
And I want to give an example from very recent life — from the COVID pandemic. And pandemics have a way of highlighting in our world the difference between the haves and the have-nots.
And I come from Australia where, for a lot of 2020 people thought we were doing so much better than the rest of the world, and we pretty much as a country, did what we needed to do to keep ourselves safe.
I would often hear elected officials saying things like, “our electorate expects us to put their interests first.”
What almost no countries did was think ahead and say, in the global south, in the majority world, many people do not have access to testing, they don’t have as many hospitals, or vaccine supply. And people will often have to choose between going to work to survive or social distancing at home.
And as the pandemic spread rapidly in those countries, the risk of mutations and variants increased, and now the Delta strain emerged, and knocked over all of Australia’s protections.
And don’t get me wrong I’m in awe of how quickly these vaccines have been developed and released, but at the same time a scarcity mentality meant most places in the world protected our own interests without thinking globally, and without thinking about what was in the best interest of all people.
2021 was much worse for us than 2020. But if we learn how to have a global vision to protect all the world’s people; if we live with an abundance mindset, instead of a scarcity mindset. If we found room in the inn, and said, “I am so blessed that the mother of my Lord would come to me” carrying within her the poorest and least powerful in the person of Jesus Christ — we can do even better.
Amen. God Bless.
PRAYER SUBMITTED BY:
Rev. Elder Karl Hand
MCC Council of Elders