Gifts for Us All

Last week while I was working on my sermon I listened to an intriguing discussion between Buddhist leaders Tara Brach and Rev. Angel Kyodo Williams in which they mentioned that as Buddhism came to the west it shifted from a focus on societal enlightenment to a focus on individual progress. That got my attention because it is so consistent with my thoughts about what happened with the Christian message as well. The emphasis on a radically inclusive community which was clearly one of the core messages of the Jewish  leader Jesus somehow became a path for individual transactional salvation as the institutional form emerged.

I reflect on this in this season in which we have so much messaging around us urging us to buy more and  have more as individuals despite the world that has so many shared needs. As this season evolves and we struggle with expectations and demands, perhaps this reminder about the need for larger gifts can cut through the saccharine overload.

May we take some time to remember the larger frame and imagine a new kind of season of giving.

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