Captain Tom, who passed away this last week, won the heart of the nation. Certainly he raised over £30 million. But I think it was rather more than this.
At 99 he lived life in the knowledge that there was always more to enjoy and more to give. Out of this sense of abundance came his impact. This gave him the creativity and delight in life to begin walking his garden. He was still up for a challenge. It also gave him that humility which meant he was genuinely surprised at all that followed. He still had a bucket list of things he wanted to do.
In the midst of the pandemic Captain Tom reminds us that we are blessed by so much.
“Long time before
I in my mother’s womb was born,
A God preparing this glorious store,
The world, for me adorn.
Into this Eden is so divine and fair,
So wide and bright, I come his son and heir.”
The opening chapters of John’s gospel show us Jesus living a life in the abundance of God.
He turns water into wine (chapter 2); the woman at the well finds she now has too much water,
for Jesus offers her living water - she leaves her water jar behind (chapter 4); and in chapter 6 a boy's packed lunch feeds thousands.
There are 12 baskets left, enough for the
12 tribes of Israel as well as the teeming crowd Jesus has been with,
who may or may not have been Jews.
Jesus continues to live this life through the bad times as well as in the glad times. He reminds his disciples of the miracle of the bread at the Last Supper when he says “This is my body"; when in the presence of Pilate he remains self-possessed; and on the cross he promises Paradise to a thief. The authorities thought they had stripped him of everything but he can still open the gate of eternity. On the day of resurrection he arose with a mighty triumph.
These stories make clear what following Jesus involves. It means we are to take, give thanks and delight in God’s creation, and then share. It means learning to live in the knowledge that as we give things to Jesus we indeed have more than we need.
Mostly we find it hard to trust we have more than enough. We need to ask God to expand our imaginations. We can ask, “How has God already prepared me for this moment?" We can ask, “What is really important in the situation?" We can look at and value what God has given us rather than what he has not given us, and start there.
In the garden of Eden Adam and Eve were tricked by the serpent into thinking they did not have enough.
They obsessed about the fruit of one tree but could not see the garden of abundance. In the midst of the pandemic we remain amongst the materially richest people who have ever lived – and this is true of the poorest amongst us.
But how much richer and more blessed are we as God opens our eyes to the presence of Jesus with us and to all that he provides us with. "Open our eyes, Lord, we want to see Jesus."