An Unexpected Ally in the Temple of Greed

Some of this Sunday’s thoughts on Lent, Greed, and recent events. You can find the    Jesus clears-the-temple 2scriptures at: http://lectionary.library.vanderbilt.edu/texts.php?id=73

The News story is at: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/prenticeblamesalbertans-goes-viral-after-jim-prentice-s-look-in-the-mirror-comment-1.2982524

You’re supposed to preach with God in your centre, the Spirit in your heart, the bible in one hand and a newspaper in the other.

Some days you just need the newspaper. Or electronic equivalent.

Granted, it helps that the Scripture is the Ten Commandments bookended by John’s Jesus, flailing the money changers, goat sellers and other assorted ruffians out of the Temple’s economic system. Flailing out the whole system, in fact.

It also helps to be in the Season of Lent, third Sunday of same. A Sunday who’s theme is ‘Greed’.

A Sunday that opened worship with a short scene depicting the havoc wreaked upon our housing by personal and corporate applications of the ‘Buy Low, Sell High’ principle.

It also helps to know there’s validity in every part of God’s creation, and to know the Spirit speaks out of many mouths.

It helps to know all is beloved by God, all are inhabited by the Spirit. It helps to know in faith and it helps, on days like this one, to find belief supporting faith in the evidence of ones ears. Or eyes, or other media importation devices.

There is truth in every degree of the circle. One thing to say. Another thing to find it right there in, for gosh sakes, the person of a Premier of Alberta. Might not be startling to you. But it puts the relevance of love, acceptance and truth on a whole new level for me.

The Ten Commandments, when boiled out to essence, (as Rabbi Hillel said, and Jesus did too, for that matter), are all about doing unto others as you would wish to have done unto you. Some of them specifically mention greed or covetousness as a deal breaker.

Something that seems to upset Jesus in the Temple too, getting between worshippers and God as it does. Selling admission to the Love that is at the centre of all being. Nothing gets him angrier than the ways men put barriers between people and the beloved. Nothing.
So: God, and Jesus and the bible. Today’s convergence. Love is good. Greed blocks Love. Greed is bad.

Enter the Premier of Alberta.

Asked why his province finds itself in the unenviable position of a Seven Billion Dollar Budget Shortfall he responded:

‘Take a look in the mirror. We’ve had the best of everything for a long time now and we haven’t paid what it cost.’

Essentially, I think he was saying we’ve been using fossil fuels to pay our way. And they have. Faithfully.

I don’t think he was saying that fossil fuels might have been a good deal for us, but they’ve been a lousy deal for our environment and that we are on the verge of realizing just how lousy that deal is.

I’ll say that for him.

As we recognize the full cost of fossil fueled economies we will retreat from them as quickly as we are able. We will drive them from the Temple with whips and flails and renewables and reconsideration of lifestyles and renewal of communal values and retrenchment of deeper, quieter and more spiritual ways of being.

We will once more put Love at the Centre of our Beings. We will once again allow ourselves to be guided into right relationship by the Spirit that breathes upon us the insisting breath of our Creator.

At the end of Lent, at the finish of Holy Week, on the third day after the fuels are capped and the Son taps us into lightened beings, we shall rise again.

And the greed and the covetousness and the destruction and the endless quest for a satiation of stuff will finally come to its end.

We’ll rise again.

Thanks Jim. A message I’ve been waiting for, from an unexpected source.

Now, if your budget can match your realization. If you can help shift us over….what then?

We’ll rise again!

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About Keith Simmonds

Born and raised in the middle north (Kitimat BC and Flin Flon MB), I've worked 30 years in Mining/Smelting and the Pulp industry, while engaging in political action, community organizing, and union activism on the side. In and Out of Spiritual Being, my faith journey is through a Christian context, although I honour, uphold and am fascinated by other paths to the mountain. I began my training in diaconal ministry with the United Church of Canada in 2004, and began serving as a minister in Rossland, Trail, Beaver Valley and Salmo BC in 2009. My family and I moved to Duncan BC in August of 2013, where I serve as part of the ministry team. My partner, Laurel Walton, and I have five children between us. Liam attends Cow High, Jonah lives and works in Duncan, Brenna resides in Courtenay, Amy and her partner, Craig are in Vancouver, and Wade is in Calgary. My parents and siblings live in Kamloops, BC.

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