Today’s Bible reading
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. – 1 Peter 2:9
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. – Jeremiah 29:11
More thoughts for meditation
Sharing money is where we answer two of the most important questions in life: “Where do I belong?” and “Am I important?” Sharing what we have expresses our unity within the body and in our common purpose. What we have matters because we each matter. We need each other. Without each other we wither. Without a common purpose in Christ, we unravel our meaning.
The death of Supreme Court justice, Antonin Scalia, a few years back had people talking about his legacy. Most of the comments started with “love him or hate him, he made an impact.”
An op-ed in the New York Times said: Justice Scalia’s most important legacy will be his “originalism” and “textualism” theory. The article also said his tendency to call opponents “idiotic” or worse would also be memorable. He often made a point that recycled a 19th century slogan about Native Americans: “The only good Constitution is a dead Constitution” — that may also be the kind of thing history recalls.
When we wonder about whether we matter or if anyone will remember us, as a church, our leaders sometimes say things like “We’re not building the pyramids here” (not in the likeness of Despicable Me for sure!). That means we know we are being shaped by God all the time; what we do is temporal and subject to development, like we as individuals are subject. We definitely have a “living Constitution!” But that wonderful flexibility can be taken too far, since we are made to influence one another and what we do also has eternal value (or possibly long-lasting ill-affect).
About the same time Justice Scalia died, our Capacity Core Team did some good thinking about money. They used it to create four workshops they keep improving and repeating as part of our Gifts for Growing. They came up with four words we all have to ponder when we are making decisions about what to do with our money and what our money might do for others: Character, Community, Resistance, and Investment. What do mature Christians do with their money? What legacy will we leave?
Antonin Scalia spent his whole life trying to get the cap back on the societal bottle that blew its top in the 1970’s. Many Christians have been doing the same thing, in vain, right alongside him — no doubt some with great motives. We, as Circle of Hope, have been trying to do something else. Like our song says, we like that “new wine.” It is not new like it is an innovation. It is new because the world is, like Scalia said, a bit “idiotic” and life with God seems new to us. Each generation needs its own taste of the new life Jesus is bringing to an ever-dying world. How we handle our money is a great test of the faith we bring to living in that world. How we share is one of the most tangible ways we get to demonstrate that something new in the world is not only possible, it is being built.
Suggestions for action
As opponents try to undo the deceptions and corruption of the Trump regime, they often say, “Follow the money.” That’s exactly what Kevin and Francis (as seen earlier in the week) refused to do. They were more likely to follow the goose and the pig, to rely on the Spirit and the work of love rather than stay on the treadmill of acquisition and self-defense – the rule of law, some call it. In Kevin’s day, the Roman Empire was caput. 600 years later in Francis’ day, feudal economics was coming to an end. In our day the American empire, as we’ve known it, and the Enlightenment experiment in general, may be coming to an end. Maybe the Covid-19 virus is killing it as we speak! We’ll see. Regardless, what is a Jesus follower to do? Spend a few minutes with that question and write down your best thoughts. We don’t need to solve history, we need to make it, step by step as we follow the light we have.
God has ways that do not depend on capitalist theory or the power people amass in places where it reigns. Jesus demonstrated that in full. His followers have always found ways to declare their own independence again and again. The formation and constant reinvention of Circle of Hope is a miracle story of people finding more than they bargained for as they shared. We’ve asked and received. Maybe we are afraid sometimes to rely on miracle and act out of love. But many times we aren’t afraid, too. Want to make things right with Jesus? He is about to lead us on the way of Jesus during Holy Week — what a great week to follow the Lord instead of following the money!
Today is Martin Luther King Jr. Day! The nation honors him as a great American. On his death day we honor him as a notable spiritual ancestor. Go to Celebrating Our Transhistorical Body.