In these days, something remarkable is happening, the Nations are being shaken. The global economic order is being tested. God enquires of it ‘Are you fit for purpose?’
What do we mean when we say ‘Economy’, or perhaps better, for words change their meaning over the years, what at base is Economy?
For Christians with a mustard seed of theology, the word ‘Economic’ may be followed by the word ‘Trinity’. The Economic Trinity is not a description of the trading system which lies at the heart of God, rather it is our attempt to ponder, to probe the mystery of the Life of God who is Father Son and Holy Spirit. How do the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit relate to one another within the Godhead?
So, being made in the Image of God, Economy for us should mean quite simply, how do we relate to one another? And it is here that the world economic order comes under judgement, for it has little or nothing to do with how humankind relates to one another, and nothing at all it seems to do with how the Human relates to the Creation.
For a while now we have ben watching, some with dismay, how the Creation seems to be tottering and collapsing around us, yet now in these days of global Coronavirus lockdown, our gaze is drawn to the ‘Global Economic Order’, so called. Because we have as humans invested so much in terms of our faith in the security of this order, anxiety reigns. Stock markets tumble. The powerful and wealthy rush to buy gold and government bonds . . . which will rot with them. For the weak and the powerless of course these times are so very difficult. The only work for so many for so long has been in serving this Economic System. We can see no future except somehow trying after it has all blown through, to try and rebuild what we have known.
But this ‘Economy’ is a false, a deceptive economy, not least for its promise is that everyone can have what they want, irrespective of human relating, or the relationshp between Humankind and God’s Creation. This in large part has led us down the path of individuallism, separated from the Creation, isolated from one another. Our present lockdown speaks powerfuly of this isolation, the individual circumstance manifested amongst us all.
This system is falling, and it will fall, if not now, in Time. If history teaches us anything it is that like the human humself, human empires and systems rise and fall . . . they are born and they die, for they have no life in them.
The question, the testing is to reveal what if anything lies underneath, buried in the depths of the human heart. For as this system tumbles, what will be revealed are the secrets of al hearts.
For too long we have forgotten that a Good Society is composed of people who are Good. We have thought that a Good Society required money, and competence in technical matters. We took Virtue for granted. We stopped asking, ‘what does it mean to be human?’
We have forgotten that Virtue is not something we naturally possess, but that we must be trained in it. This is what the Church taught consitently for many centuries, that for us to live towards God, the only one who Is Good, required effort. ‘Hard and narrow is the way that leads to life, and few there are that find it’ says Jesus.
Which brings me, finally and briefly to the title of this blog. ‘Give to everyone who asks of you. For living in response to the words of Jesus, is Life itself, for He Is Alive!
To say that these words of Jesus – along with most of his words – are largely ignored is to state the obvious to which we have become blind
The Economy of the Trinity is a Sharing in all that they have and all that they are, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. It is a Sharing in Life. At this beginning of Holy Week, our hearts and minds are set towards Jerusalem, where Jesus gives all that He possesses, His Life, which of course in Him alone, is all that He Is.
At this time folk will start to borrow – even, horrifically, from kith and kin, family members, love having absented itself from even the closest realtionships – though these are yet the birth pangs. The Goodness of God is not present.
This is the Terrible outworking of individualism, that Life, all we have and all we are is not shared, rather it is traded, for a time. You must repay! As if those who give and those who receive really owned what they had?
People will enter into further forms of debt slavery, working to repay that which cannot be repaid. Despite an easy theology that says Jesus paid what we couldn’t, the Reality we live by is still that of the Monetary Economy, where someone puts his hands round our neck and promises prison if we don’t repay.
Our lives are given in the Image of the Triune God, as an outworking of that mutual Interdependence upon which eevrything rests, the Life of God.
Now comes the test. Are we Alive to God? Are our hands open to give? Has our sharing of what we have with others revealed the Life of God in us, or have we hoarded for ourselves. Are we Alive to the God whose life is Sharing, or just to a collapsing economic order? The Saints of old rejoiced to see the fall of Babylon the Great – the Economic order which had destroyed life and the Creation. The Judgement of God had come. The Testing of Faith.
The rain falls, the floods rise, and the winds beat against that house, and the house on the . . .