O Generous God

I recently spent a week with the Iona Community on the tiny island of Iona, off the west coast of Scotland.  Iona has been considered a "thin place" - a place where the veil that separates heave from earth is at its thinnest - since before Christianity came to the British Isles.  And since the 6th Century CE, Iona has been a Christian pilgrimage site.  This was my second trip to this sacred island, my second time to spend a week in community at the Iona Abbey.

Our theme for the week was economic justice, and I learned much in conversations with pilgrims from all over the world who share a passion for working for justice in their various corners of our planet.  Worship at the Iona Abbey is always powerful, focusing on God's love for the world and challenging/inspiring/encouraging worshipers to participate in working for peace and for justice.  During one of our evening services, Rev. Kathy Galloway, preached on Exodus 16 (the story of the Hebrew people receiving manna, or bread from heaven).  That communion service, along with the myriad discussions of the week, inspired this hymn.  

[Oh, and how often does a Christian hymn quote (or misquote) Gandhi not once, but twice in a single stanza?]

O Generous God
10 11.11 12 (O Worship the King)
Exodus 16; Proper 13B (Ordinary 18B)

O generous God, your people you blessed,
With manna to eat and water to refresh.
You gave them enough, each their household to feed, 
And warned them to take not more than their daily need.

But some listened not, and hoarded their lot.
Their stockpiles were turned to stores of rank and rot.
Again, you reminded to take what’s required;
Abundance was theirs if simplicity transpired.

God, you still provide, yet we seek to gain
Much more than our share – all that we can obtain.
As persons, as nations, our wealth we increase.
And our acquisition takes from those with the least.

O God, your provision meets all our needs
But there’s not enough to satisfy our greed.
God, teach us to share the resources you give.
Oh, help us live simply that all may simply live.

Copyright © 2014 by Rachel Frey. All rights reserved.   

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