Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall.
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
All the king's horses and all the king's men
couldn't put Humpty back together again.
Let's be honest: this past week's news of Lehmann Brothers, Merrill Lynch, AIG...and the federal government, Barclays and Bilk....I mean...Bank of America coming to the rescue with buy-outs and bail-outs should make us all take a pause, and question that notion of financial security.
Of course, there are those of us who don't own stock or have a portfolio that could be sunk by a banking collapse. However, even those of us at the bottom of the financial food chain know that when those with means suddenly find they don't have anything....we all will suffer.
Which is why the Collect of the Day assigned for the Sunday closest to September 21st was perfect:
Grant us, Lord, not to be anxious about earthly things, but to love things heavenly; and even now, while we are placed among things that are passing away, to hold fast to those that shall endure; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Amen, indeed! There are a myriad of "things" that people writing the collects probably had in mind...including the official start of fall. But I am always amazed and often amused when the words assigned speak so directly to the situation at hand in my life! Add to this the gospel in Matthew about the laborers in the vineyard who start kvetching when they realize that the guys who were hired at the end of the day got the same pay they got, even though they'd been working all day long. I'm sure most of us would cry foul at such a concept. But Jesus is telling that story as yet another analogy about the Kingdom of Heaven: everybody gets in, and no "works" will earn you more gold stars for your crown. Anyone who has answered "Yes" to the invitation will get the red carpet treatment.
But wait a minute here! This is still just so unfair!! If I've been busting my butt all day, then I want more than the person who only came in at the last hour to prune a few a branches. My works should count for something. Answer: they do! And if your works are coming from a place of doing right by the owner of the vineyard (aka God) then you will get the reward promised to you. So quit looking over here and over there to see who else is getting what from the vineyard owner and pay attention to the work you're doing!
What's this got to do with my Humpty Dumpty and Collect story? Greed. And the greed that has governed Wall Street, where laborers not only thought they should get paid more, but were willing to pick the pockets of their fellow workers to amass more and more wealth, has come crashing down like Humpty Dumpty. This type of greed is the kind that plays up the evil in our hearts by giving us that "All for one and none for all" mentality. Meanwhile, the Collect is the balm for the rest of us, who are now sitting on pins and needles as we watch our federal tax dollars going to bail out the banks. Now, we who are at the bottom rung of the financial ladder could wag our fingers and say, "Hey, what about me? How come I don't git no stinkin' 700-billion dollar fixer-upper money?!" And we'd be justified in our anger. But then that would be our own form of greed now, wouldn't it? This is one of the situations where we have to suck it up because to do the self-righteous anger-thing would lead to a possible economic meltdown with global ramifications. And that would not be "good news".
However, as with the covenant with Noah, this should signal a change. We can not go back to the days of such deregulation.
Personally, I hope Humpty Dumpty can be swept up and taken away...far far faaaaar away. And then let's hope that we can claw our way out of this mess. Please.