Viewpoint from Revd Betty Trinder 17/07/09
From Rev Betty Trinder
Methodist Minister for Gorleston and Bradwell
Member of the East Norfolk Methodist Circuit
The political and economic implications of the global financial crisis have been widely commented o
n. I wonder how the financial crisis might influence our prayers. It might be something like this, “Lord, all the financial turmoil seems to touch my prayer in two ways. Sometimes I feel moral indignation at the greed of the so called ‘fat cats’ whose desire for ever-greater profits has exploited the weak and vulnerable. I pray that they may move from blindness to a sense of the real world of people, and realise the futility of their greed that wants more and more money.”
Jesus said, “What does it profit to gain the whole world and suffer the loss of your soul?” (Mark 8: 36). But Lord, I know that such indignation is not always from the good spirit, it may be mixed with a sense of ‘Schadenfreude’ (delighting in the downfall of others) in which there is little charity. I need to watch it. At other times I feel fear and insecurity for myself and my loved ones. This pushes me to look at myself. Does insecurity make me more self-seeking and less caring about the needs of others, lessening my humanity, clouding my sense that people matter more than money, or does the worldwide turmoil strengthen my compassion? Poverty is not good in itself, but where it leads to a deeper dependence on God and co-exists with generosity it can be a rare grace – remember Jesus marvelling at the widow’s mite (Mark 12: 41 – 43).
The financial crisis should make us more aware of the needs of others especially the need to pray for others. It should lead us to consider that we live in a global villag
e and those who will be suffering the most will be those who have always suffered the most, those in the Third World, where day to day survival is the biggest challenge for them. It is in the poorest countries that the Church is growing at the fastest rate, among the people who realise their need of a God who will never cheat them. With unemployment rising in this country, and the prospect of tax rises to cover the massive debt we are in, I pray that there will be a return to a God who loves us and longs for us to turn to Him.
We all need to look at our priorities, only by doing this can change come about. Globalisation has benefited the very rich and feeds their greed. Our heroes should be those who seek to work hard and accept the interdependence of us all on this planet to provide the basic needs of food, clothes and shelter for all humanity. Our Church leadership needs to reflect closely on the message we give out and the example we set, so that when people do turn to us they find guidance from those who do not have all the answers but have a heart to seek a God who understands that.