2019 Advent Devotion 17

Morals and Money

This has been quite a week. Lots of news. Which is nothing new. But the impeachment hearings and votes were noteworthy. Many people did not listen this go round unlike impeachment processes in the past. The situation with Nixon, though it did not end in impeachment, was followed very closely by most Americans. The impeachment of Bill Clinton was also closely followed by most people. But then sex sells. But it was not so this time with the impeachment of the current president.

This got me thinking about many things. One is morals and money. If money and power are your game, then you have your perspective on this situation and there is no reason to be bothered with additional information including any facts. The love of money and power predetermine the narrative you will endorse.

If you are concerned with morals, then there is no point in bothering to listen because the facts have spoken. Nothing more needs to be heard. So why tune in to the hearings and debates? Listening to that verbiage can be toxic. Who needs that?

Morals and money. In the birth stories of Jesus in the Bible, there are some very clear messages about morals and money. Mary and Joseph are not wealthy or prominent. God chooses to work through these everyday people not through rich and powerful people with status and position, to bless the world. Money doesn’t get you in with God.

And Joseph could divorce Mary, we are told in Matthew, but he doesn’t. He follows the moral guidance he is given by God instead of protecting his male status and his property rights over Mary. Instead, he does what is morally good.

And the magi mentioned in Matthew, come from a foreign land, seeking to validate this newborn king who will rule with moral authority not with money.

And then the angels in the birth story in Luke go to the shepherds. They do not to the high priests in the Temple or to the governor. But to the shepherds out in the fields, keeping watch over their flocks, to announce the good news of the birth of Jesus. That’s like making an announcement to the Hispanic farmworkers out in the fields picking strawberries in Plant City. What about Tallahassee? What about Miami? What about Orlando??? Nope. Think Immokalee.

In the Christmas stories, morals talk and money and its accompanying power are silent. It’s a far cry from our current condition. Which is why we still need Jesus and we need Christmas again.

This holy season, may we reflect on our values and what we care about. Are the angels coming to us? What moral authority are we validating? Do we let money do all the talking? May we find our way to the manger and go home a different way. Amen.

Author: Rev. Wells

Pastor of Lakewood United Church of Christ since 1991. Graduate of Wellesley College and Union Theological Seminary of New York.

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