It is time for a new economy.
It is time for Christ to be our Cornerstone of all creation, even our economic exchange. It’s Easter, the season of new days and resurrected, restored creations. The time is now for God’s Way to revive all that makes us broken and weak, especially the structures that create poverty and violence.
They brought them into their presence and questioned them,
“By what power or by what name have you done this?”
Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, answered them,
“Leaders of the people and elders:
If we are being examined today
about a good deed done to a cripple,
namely, by what means he was saved,
then all of you and all the people of Israel should know
that it was in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazorean
whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead;
in his name this man stands before you healed.
He is the stone rejected by you, the builders,
which has become the cornerstone.
There is no salvation through anyone else,
nor is there any other name under heaven
given to the human race by which we are to be saved.” -Acts 4: 7-12
Our society loves putting our faith in the wrong places. The early Christians understood that nothing would work unless Christ is its cornerstone, its foundation, the center upon which all is grounded. Today we seem to be pretty dense to this. We gamble on economics and politics to be our salvation as if they are the systems that will lead us toward justice and peace.
Today’s political and economic debates are littered with lies.
All over the spectrum, I hear the propaganda of capitalism. One side is blaring out that we need to have few regulations, little taxation and that those with the wealth and power ultimately will- by the nature of the structure- influence justice. Supposedly, people can rise up by the boot straps and get on their feet if those with wealth and power are able to create more jobs. On the other hand, I hear a suggestion that we need to redistribute wealth, that if you’re rich it’s because the structure has allowed you to be and so you owe something to the rest of humanity. Glossy promotions boom out that careful investments, money management and increased shopping is the way to freedom, justice and peace. How many times do we justify our materialistic habits with a shrug of: “my purchasing is helping the economy”? We think morality should be guided by ability. (I was disgusted to hear a story on Science Friday about mining resources in space to maintain our standard of living, without any discussion about whether it is morally OK for us to do so.) For some reason everyone seems to believe that if we allow capitalism to work its course then things will be fair and everything will be all right.
Today is May Day, an international day of strike and an Occupy movement momentum maker. These social movements cry out in response to the propaganda of capitalism: the structures we know aren’t working!
What would work instead? It’s Eastertime. We need a new economy, an Easter economy. The only way is Christ, the cornerstone.
With Christ at the cornerstone of the new economy, all shall be gift. According to God’s designs, we are interdependent with all creation. We need plants, animals and clean air. The creatures of God’s planet need us to care for them, too. With mindfulness, we shall restore earth’s resources and all have enough. We give and take with gratitude and constantly ask the hard questions about what we should do, not what we can do.
In an economy with Christ as the cornerstone, we can rely on each other. We’ll know how to help each other and we won’t hesitate to do so because we understand that judgement isn’t up to us. We know that hospitality and service means that we risk being uncomfortable and converting to creations who are more united. We trust each other to do what is right, because no competition shall cause us to do wrong. With joy, we work with our hands, create art, repair what is broken, grow our own food and freely give away what we don’t need.
The Gospel good news is that many are already living in these Easter economies. I am thrilled to know people who will, in a couple of weeks, celebrate a weekend without capitalism. I have some friends who have a “free shelf” in their house and sponsor a regular “free market” in Chicago in order to create a space for everyone to share what they have.
When it comes to giving, loving and serving survival shouldn’t be our concern. With Christ as our cornerstone, our needs are supplied. Sure, we may need to live simply and love freely in order to get by, but isn’t that the Gospel Way? If we’re not concerned about money, bills and income then we suddenly have time to grow our own food, fix things that are broken and look for food in new places. We can give of our skills and time in exchange for the things we need. I’d be delighted to come and teach a lesson or write for you; you can feed me lunch or help me fix my bike.
This vision isn’t just idealistic or pie in the sky. This is according to Christ’s designs. Our faith needs to be in Him, we are made to love and share. With new alternatives, our habits shall be converted and we’ll be healing the crippled and bringing life to the dead. We recognize that justice isn’t up to us, that’s God’s work. We all do our part to help make things better. We trust and believe. We know it in our hearts and we preach it with our lives: with Christ as the cornerstone of our Easter economy, everything will really be OK.