Economic Storms, Justice, and Kindness
Micah 6:8 & Isaiah 58:6
©Hilary F. Marckx, all rights reserved
I get so tired of trying to
think about the woes of the world,
the singular pains of
each piece of life
on the planet,
that my head spins.
I want to care about justice,
but injustice is so great
that I simply throw up my hands
and stagger off feeling the futility
of a low-grade depression.
I’d like to help out,
but the steady progression of ills
marches past me in a macabre parade
and I quail in the face of my lack of solutions.
All I seem to be able to do is
make my decisions with honor and care,
choose my own path to do the least harm,
pray for the presence of grace
in the lives of the downtrodden,
donate some small piece of my small earnings
to the helping institutions,
and sometimes, when I am able,
to speak out in favor of the least.
It is just all I can do…
A Nation of Whiners
Last week I preached on how we should give up our carping about what our opposing political party is doing an give praise to God for all that is in our lives–both good and bad. I suggested that we do ourselves and the notion of grace an injustice when we complain and whine about politics, and whatever else inconveniences us.
There is a force and a power within us that could change the nature of nature it we would believe it, access it and act on it. It is the power of praise and thanks. No, I am not being a dreamer or a pie-in-the-sky-guy. I am being as serious as it gets. there is no excuse for our complaining and grumbling, and there is reason to give praise and thanks.
And why shouldn’t there be? We live in a First World Nation. Even many of our poor have more than most of the average people in a Third World Nation. Yet, we of America’s middle and upper classes, who should be grateful for all we have been given, act as if we were the most put upon of the world. Whiners one and all!
The Inconvenience of the Gospel
We actually are what we believe we are, and we become what we proclaim, and so much of the misery, though self-inflected is indeed real. The Book of Micah is quite specific in the mandate to do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with God. Many would like to pretend this was never said. There are other claims in the Bible that are much more convenient for us to hold dear. One would be the eye-for-an-eye/tooth-for-tooth one, which fits better with the human make up. Some Christians love Paul better that Jesus, saying that Jesus doesn’t have as much to say to them as does Paul (yes, it was actually said to me by a Fundamentalist Christian). The legalists who love Paul and feel uncomfortable with Jesus’ notions of justice, overlook the fact that Paul was establishing Christian communities that today would look to our paranoid and fear-filled right-wing Dominists much more like a 1950s Communist Cell or a present day terrorist group than simply a group of Jesus-lovers. It’s how the early Christians looked to the Romans. We need to be careful with how we pick and choose out of the Bible.
There is a Means by Which to Turn Disaster into Glory
We can undo the harm of our fear of helping the stranger if learn to praise and give thanks to God. Ignoring the Justice mandates of scripture is disastrous for the soul, for others and to the community that Jesus was attempting to establish on earth. We are to help build a community of grace, not of discontent. I know that may sound silly in the face of all the political crap that’s going on in our nation, but nonetheless, that is what we are expected to do.
Think of it this way. What is generally termed, the Kingdom of God, is in truth a community of grace. It is where grace happens regardless of what’s going on around us. This is a community where praise is the official language. This is a community where thankfulness and thanksgiving, oh yes, and forgiveness, are the mindset and way of life of its inhabitants. I do not think that God made these ideals the foundation of the community. I believe it was planned, deliberate, on purpose.
But I am not thinking of what is termed, a Dominionist system, whereby the Dominion of God is the political system, a theocracy. Actually I believe that Dominion theologies are by their very natures cynical, and are supported by people who have given up on the Gospel of Jesus and the scripture mandates. What I mean quite specifically is a spiritual realm of the inner person, and a community of like-minded forgiving, grace-filled thankful people, who dwell in a community of mutual grace. This community lives within our existing and broken political/religious communities doing justice, loving kindness, and walking humbly.
If we will give up our cynicism and our fear of the Gospel Mandates, then we will bring about the true Gospel Community. If we will give of our wealth, and we have wealth, in the aid of others and of the Gospel, then truly grace will abound. We can no longer vote for our bank accounts, vote because our fears, vote out of our need for convenience, vote in ways that enable our inherent stinginess and selfishness, and vote out of the full power of the Gospel Mandate and grace will abound in our nation.
Grace Needs a Chance, Not shareholders
Labor Day brought on this sermon and as I was thinking about how America’s weak politicians have caved in to the needy corporate shareholders, and how they are working to gut our unions, how our unions were good but became corrupt, how no one in the business structure of America truly cares for the workers. I realized that stockholders do not need a chance, grace needs a chance. I also realized that this is not a voting matter, it is a praying matter. Christians need to learn once again how to be Christians instead of pious, greedy, legalistic puppets for politicians to manipulate. Can we do that? I think , for the sake of the Gospel Community we need to try.
If you have any comments you would like to add to this, please feel free to use the Comment Box, thanks Hilary