I know I’m not the only one who struggles with this. I think it’s a fundamental human challenge. Our fear about money and our fear of death are related. We are anxious about money because at a fundamental level we need it for survival. In our society, we buy food with money. We need that food to stay alive.
Today Christians observe Good Friday, when we remember Jesus’ death. Protestants rush to Easter. And the story of Easter does tell us that death is not ultimate. God has power even over the grave.
Yet we do die. We have to face that truth. Good Friday gives us time to reflect on that reality as well as on the suffering and death of Jesus.
And, of course, Christians affirm that the story does not end with Good Friday, that Easter dawns. Life comes out of death.
So: what does Holy Week have to do with money? I’m taking a nine-month course about money this year. At a recent workshop for the money course, we engaged in an exercise where we wrote down some things in our lives we wanted to be free of, and actually buried the paper in the ground.
As I began this solitary practice, I realized that I know something about funerals. I’ve presided at many. So I read some of the usual funeral texts including Psalm 23. “He prepares a table before me in the presence of my enemies. My cup overflows.” I’ve read this Psalm dozens if not hundreds of times, and I never truly noticed these words about God’s provision. I felt more able to claim that provision without fear.
This Holy Week I am engaged in a practice to leave my old relationship with money buried and to allow greater freedom and possibility to come to life as Easter dawns. I’m attending a 3-hour Good Friday service for the first time in years, at St. David of Wales Episcopal Church in Portland. I’ll spend the rest of Friday and all of Saturday in quiet. I’m glad I’m not preaching Easter Sunday.
I’m convinced that God wants me to be free in relation to money, that this is part of my journey toward new life in Christ. I believe God wants you to be free, too.
What are some of the ways you are finding greater freedom with regard to money in your ministry and/or your life?