Many of us good church people subconsciously think of money as dirty. Clergy don’t want too much to do with it. They don’t want to talk about it too often. Christians often keep their life of faith separate from their business.
Nadia Bolz-Weber suggests in her book Pastrix that after the resurrection Mary Magdalene may have thought Jesus a gardener because he still had the dirt from the tomb under his nails. She points out that all the pictures of the risen Christ look “more like a wingless angel than a gardener.” She goes on, “My experience, however, is that the God of Easter is a God with dirt under his nails.” I believe that means God is interested in every single part of our lives, including our money.
In fact, when we let Jesus mix it up with our money, and mix it up with money ourselves, we live out our calling as Christians. My Lenten reading was a book called The Holy Use of Money, by John Haughey. Haughey says that when Jesus appears, “he appears in the midst of their concerns, disparaging none of them, taking upon himself each of these, transforming all of them.” Jesus concerns himself with our money life. Easter hope can transform our everyday financial concerns and fears.
New life can come into our financial relationships in spite of our fear and our reluctance to deal with money. The disciples were huddled in the upper room, unsure what to do. Many church leaders are huddled together, anxious about how they will fund their ministries.
Individuals, too, can experience fear, shame and uncertainty in relation to money.
Pastors face challenges like:
- Having to go part time and find supplemental work
- Crushing student or consumer debt
- Envying friends or family members who make so much more
Church members face similar challenges and others:
- Wanting to integrate faith with daily work and money use, and not knowing how
- Guilt about how much they are spending on their children and grandchildren
- Dealing with the shame of bankruptcy, present or past
The hope Jesus offers extends to our institutional and personal finances. In John 21 the risen Jesus cooks a breakfast of fish for the disciples, after a miraculous catch of fish. He provides what they need, and he provides the spiritual and practical support we need. This includes including our money.
If the resurrection means anything, it means our daily, bodily concerns (like buying food and clothing and paying our bills) are included in Easter hope.
You can claim Easter hope for your money when you celebrate what you DO have. You can continue your Easter celebration even if money is tight at church or home.
In my own practice I’ve found it helps to focus on everyday, specific small celebrations as a way of eliminating fear and moving me toward hope.
You can celebrate that:
- Your church’s doors were open for Easter worship.
- Your church has windows and doors.
- It’s spring, at last (at least in the northern hemisphere). Spring costs nothing.
- You had enough to eat today.
- Christ is risen!
What are the many ways you can bring your Easter celebration into your life with money?
photo credit: http://bit.ly/1hcr4FS