Hollowed or Hallowed Lives? ~~ Donna Schaper
What shall I return to the Lord for all his bounty to me? …I will offer … a thanksgiving sacrifice. From Psalm 116
What shall we return to God for tall the bounty we know? Anxiety? Lethargy? Numbness? Hollowed or hallowed lives? We could return vitality, energy, joy and engagement: that would please God and constitute a bountiful return.
The way to move from one pasture to another has to do with which future we claim. According to Gallup, one half of the American people think something “terrible” is going to happen. There is another version of apocalypse, one that understands its biblical meaning, as what God is going to finally do, with humanity, “when all is said and done.” It moves us from hollow to hallowed lives. It allows us to return to God what God offers, which is a promise of future and hope.
The first step in the movement out of the tomb of the negative into the resurrection of bounty is to change your language. Whenever anyone does the hand wringing, whining, “Oh my God” routine, your job is to return bounty. Or at least comfort. “Oh, my God” can be said with reverence or with fear. Say it with reverence. That will change your language from tragic to comic, positive to negative. It will return to God the bounty God has given and spread it around among ourselves.
Odd the psalmist calls such an action “a thanksgiving sacrifice.” Apparently, we sacrifice our fear and turn it into thanksgiving.
PRAYER: Change me and my language and my picture of the future, O God, so that I may offer bounty as my sacrifice to you. Amen.
God Is Still Speaking: 365 Daily Devotionals, ed. Christina Villa (Cleveland: The Pilgrim Press, 2013), 9-10.