Originally posted on my short-lived Christian spirituality-only blog, “The Night is as Bright as the Day (deepseastarryheaven.wordpress.com).
May 14, 2014.
A reflection on the love of money, Luke 16: 13-15, and rich Christians who hate the poor, the orphan, the alien, and the widow.
As I reflect on harsh words exchanged without a shred of compassion it is like hearing a clanging cymbal or resounding gong with no melodic qualities. It is a hollow, empty sound, carried forth on the blast of hot prideful air. It is cruel and merciless. It is a belief that the poor are poor because they deserve it. Worse, it is a belief that God is punishing them for a lack of due diligence. Not all idleness is the devil’s idleness. There is a time for rest, for healing, and for suffering. Conversely, not all work is to God’s glory. There are forms and behaviours that appear good or productive that may well exist to numb us to the nagging sense that as “good” as we are, we may have missed Christ in the process. There are those who have been cast down by the cruel vagaries of life, in circumstances outside their control.
I wonder why it is that sometimes the harshest words come from the mouths of those who praise God with their mouths, yet curse mankind in the next breath.
And so I sit here, wondering, reflecting, what happened to those of us who have sought a place in the Body of Christ. Would we deny the mercy and comfort of our Lord and Saviour to those who desperately need it? Prayer is good and prayer changes us internally as the Spirit of God moves us, but what good is it to bless the poor without giving them practical kindness as far as we are able.
We drive the needy away from our midst. It is not always deliberate; it may be that we have shown ourselves to be unsafe. It is the loudly voiced proclamation that God’s grace is not available to certain subsets of humanity – all the while one of them may be sitting there, hearing it, their spirit crushed or their heart hardened.
I don’t want the Body to be like this. I don’t want a Jesus Who makes the rich so rich that they consume everything.
I dare to believe in a God Who calls humanity to tend His garden, lovingly and creatively, becoming co-workers with Him in bringing beauty and magnificence to His world. I dare to believe that how we treat those around us is just as important – if not more so – than whether they can answer the question, “If you die now, will you go to heaven or hell?” Who could ever answer that with full and complete confidence? What is hell, or heaven, anyway? Has anyone given a full and complete and satisfactory answer to that in the sense of being broadly accepted by Christendom through history and through cultures?
Let’s look not only to the kingdom that is yet to come, but the kingdom that is already here. It sits as seed form in the hearts of those who have spiritual eyes to see it. It is peace, love and mercy, transcendent and given freely. It flows from the indwelling presence of the Spirit.