I’ve been kicking around, with a few people, the idea that money is the closest thing we experience to the power of God. Weaponry was (and still is for some) the thing we leaned on and even philosophy held sway at one point, but today as we face living in our society the thing that will make a difference, that will change the course of life, that will make things easier or give us answers is money. The spiritual power of money has never been so effectively on display.
Power, the ability to wield change regardless of others’ choices, is thoroughly integrated with a high level of financial stability. So, money is trusted and respected and worshiped even when we act like we’re talking about power as primary. Power is built on the presence of money today. Anytime effective power is expressed without money (civil disobedience, e. g.), it is experienced as remarkable and even surprising. It makes the evening news.
The stark contrast of true power, that which doesn’t rely on the presence of money, is such a part of everyday living for most people that we almost don’t notice it. People who use it well dismiss its presence sometimes and certainly state that they have no claim to responsibility for its strength. It’s referred to as “just what you do,” or “the right thing” or “what anybody would do.” Its worth and truth are so deflected that it is generally experienced as if it doesn’t contain the strength on which we all rely daily.
This is love. We narrow it down sometimes to call it kindness, patience, joy but the essential element we’re talking about is love. This is the nature of the world, how it actually works. What is a marvel to me is how much Christians do not get that.
The immanence of God, that recognizable presence, is sometimes misconstrued by Christians. It’s as if we act like it comes and goes. That it was here at the time of creation or Jesus or as the Spirit touches one’s life, but that otherwise it is, perhaps not far away, but, not here. But what if it is?
What if the presence of God is what we rely on for everything? What if every element of every day is inhabited by God – Creator, Son and Spirit, as we experience and explain God? This is not to be confused with pantheism where God is holed up in every feature of nature. It is the living power that keeps everything happening, and we experience God’s presence through the mediation of the Son and the enlivening of the Spirit. Then God’s otherness than us is always in touch with the reality we inhabit through the work of Creator, Son and Spirit.
So, dropping it down a bit… the lady feeding the cats out her back door is living in relation to God. The protestor who is shouting for equality for the voiceless is living in relation to God. The friend who picks up the tab at the diner and slaps you on the back with a smile as you leave is living in relation to God. Our weakness, frailty, and the limitations of who we are, or what we can accomplish individually, do not separate us from God. God infuses them with the power that sustains the world… love.