The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astounded that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles…
“It’s funny,” writes Robin Wall Kimmerer in her book Braiding Sweetgrass, “how the nature of an object—let’s say a strawberry or a pair of socks—is so changed by the way it has come into your hands, as a gift or as a commodity. The pair of wool socks that I buy at the store, red and gray striped, are warm and cozy. I might feel grateful for the sheep that made the wool and the worker who ran the knitting machine. I hope so. But I have no inherent obligation to those socks as a commodity, as private property. There is no bond beyond the politely exchanged “thank yous” with the clerk. I have paid for them and our reciprocity ended the minute I handed her the money. The exchange ends once parity has been established, an equal exchange. They become my property. I don’t write a thank-you note to JCPenney.”
Gifts, she explains, create ongoing relationships. Were those same socks knitted by her grandmother and given as a gift, she would not only write a thank-you note, but take care of them, wear them when she visits, even if she didn’t like them. She would make her a gift in return on her birthday. “That is the fundamental nature of gifts: they move, and their value increases with their passage.”
Jesus says to his disciples, “I no longer call you servants, but friends.” Our human relationships are transformed by our choice of perspective. Their values increase as we enter into more deeply into the invitation of Gospel; our joy is made complete.
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