Given the vote by Congress to turn down the economic bailout (or rescue plan or whatever it is called), and given the sudden drop of the stock market on Monday, many writers are predicting doom and gloom. Some reporters and economic experts are saying that “the foundations are shaking” – and of course that kind of talk only adds to our sense of demise. The “blame game” provides yet another whole layer of depressing news, and we ordinary citizens are left to wonder if it is all falling apart when politicians are all blaming one another for this failure.
I realize that we are in tough times, and I certainly don’t want to downplay the painful economics that many are feeling. It may well be that we in the US deserve what we are experiencing right now, because we have enjoyed several decades of prosperity which has led many of us into unhealthy patterns of greed and a sense of entitlement.
However, I have real doubts that the “foundations of the world” are shaking. Let me lift up some foundations which seem to be still in place:
- I noticed that the sun rose again this morning, and the patterns of nature and creation still seem to be in place.
- I can see that photosynthesis is still operating as plants continue to grow and produce a harvest.
- When I slipped off my chair at a meeting, I noticed that the law of gravity is still working quite well, and it is good to know that we can depend upon this force to keep us from flying off into space.
- I am still able to love and to be loved by my spouse, my family, my close friends, and by God. I am grateful that this foundational power is not damaged by the ups and downs of the Dow.
- Every Sunday when I preach in a different church around Indiana, I discover a congregation of people whose faith is intact and often vibrant. Certainly many of our churches share in the same economic issues which face our nation, but in church after church I still find people whose faith is strong and unshaken.
I could name other “foundations” and I am sure you can, too, but my point is quite simple: don’t panic, don’t assume that the whole world is falling apart, hold fast to your faith and your good sense about life, and don’t let the bad news out of Washington shake your foundations. The foundations of the world belong to God, not to Wall Street, not to the politicians, and not to the economists. As Scripture says (Psalm 104:1-5)
Praise the LORD, O my soul.
O LORD my God, you are very great;
you are clothed with splendor and majesty.
He wraps himself in light as with a garment;
he stretches out the heavens like a tent
and lays the beams of his upper chambers on their waters.
He makes the clouds his chariot
and rides on the wings of the wind.
He makes winds his messengers,
flames of fire his servants.
He set the earth on its foundations;
it can never be moved.
from Bishop Michael J. Coyner
Indiana Area of The United Methodist Church