I worked for the Fraud Unit of the Attorney General’s office in college. It was a great experience and helped me learn about the law and discern whether or not I was called to be an attorney. We followed up on consumer complaints. A few of my cases went to court where the State and consumers won. This was the front line of the AG’s office and got us a lot of positive press. Imagine my reaction when I was told to meet with a manager of the Weights and Measures division – boooooring! And, when I met with the middle-aged manager, he said up front, “You Fraud Unit guys always think what we do is boring.” True, I did. But then he asked, “The last time you put fuel in car, how much did you put in?” I told him it was eight gallons. He then asked, “How do you know you put in eight gallons? What if it really was 7 gallons, or six and a half?” He paused and then said, “but I bet you paid for eight gallons.” He said that someday I would want to buy a house and would compare homes with similar square footage. How would I know that one 1,800 square foot home is the same size as another 1,800 square foot home. How could I know?
Later on, I worked for a home electronics retail company (it was not as glamorous as the Fraud Unit, but paid better). I quickly figured out that not all measurements were the same in the industry. Most people thought that a 30 inch television was measured across, not diagonally. Very few realized some manufacturers include the plastic border in their measurement. Likewise, some 100 watt stereos were twice as loud as other so-called 100 watt stereos. Each manufacturer had a different way to figure how their product compared to others, like wattage, viewable screen size, processing speed, low-light sensitivity, to name a few.
Have you noticed lately that it is difficult to buy a pound of bacon? It’s easy to find 12.5 ounces in one package, but not one pound. Have you noticed that food manufacturers seem to be putting empty space in their containers to make their boxes look bigger but their product remains the same? At a Fourth of July party a couple of years ago, a friend was excited about the good deal he got on a six pack of beer only to find out that they were 9.8 ounce cans. I found out today that ground beef has ice mixed into it. Ice. Some mixes put in 20% ice. When you pay $5 for a pound of ground beef, some is water, not meat. Or how about the Hershey’s new “air delight” chocolate bar. Yeah, it’s literally air mixed into the chocolate – less chocolate, more air, same price.
This is not how it is with God’s love and God’s promises. When God promises peace, it’s not a container with 32% air and 68% peace – it’s all full of peace. When God became human it wasn’t mostly human, with additives, corn syrup, and maltodextrin (whatever that is). When Jesus says he loves you, it’s not with ice mixed in to increase the weight, it’s not including some of the love for your neighbor, it’s all you and God’s love. And yes, I do add water to the chalice of wine before our Eucharist celebration, but it’s not to water down God’s love – it’s out of tradition. I don’t think there’s anything I could do to water down God’s love out of the chalice. When Jesus said, “Do this in remembrance of me,” it’s all in there.
As the weights and measures of our economy seem to be in flux, please remember that God’s love for you remains the same today as it was on the day you were born – 100%.