As I got off the train today in Manhattan the mood was grim. Bear Sterns seemed manageable. Fanny Mae and Freddy Mac seemed like a Washington problem that Washington solved. But somehow Lehman Brothers was different. It seemed closer to home, another domino that fell, with AIG waiting in the wings.
While the news cameras showed Lehman Brothers staff cleaning out their offices, my friends were calculating which of their friends would be affected and my organization, The Bowery Mission, were calculating how many of our donors were now broke. It seemed a bad day for the financial sector and a bad day for fundraisers.
And it was a good day to remember that we worship the God who created heaven and earth and not the bronze bull that is firmly anchored on Wall Street. We're taught and acculturated to measure our worth and our security by the size of our pay check, the diversity of our portfolio, the assets invested in our houses and how our cars stack up against our neighbors. Now our lust for that worth, our desire to leverage everything in an attempt to find wealth where there is none, has created a house of cards which is causing much pain and fear as it falls.
"In life and in death we belong to God," begins the PC(USA)'s Brief Statement of Faith. "Seek ye first the kingdom of God," scripture tells us, "and everything else will be granted to you." These are not mere words. Times like these remind us that these are the fundamental truths of life.
Be sure to pray for those whose jobs are gone, whose houses are slipping away, for whom security has been replaced by fear and uncertainty.