Since the 1980s when The Gift (Lewis Hyde) was first published, more and more alternatives to the traditional market-system have presented themselves – patronage, crowd-funding and community-funded work in non-profit organisations. Or perhaps these subtle gift exchanges have always been part of certain aspects of our lives. Most of the important things in our lives (like parents, mentors, friendship, insight), cannot be monetised (‘I am x amount of Rands worth per hour’). Nonetheless, the bottom-line question for many of the artists in our community remains the same – how do I pay the bills.
On this third Sunday of Advent, in keeping with the Advent theme of longing and waiting, or promise and fulfilment to use the Biblical categories, our main text for reflection is 2 Samuel 7:1-17, the account of David’s desire to build God a “house.” Our New Testament counterpart is a slightly unusual choice, Romans 1:1-7, as it gives peculiar expression to the ultimate fulfilment of God’s response to David through the prophet Nathan, that he instead would be the one to build David a “dynasty.”