In 1630, before even the ship landed for the Massachusetts Bay Colony, Gov. John Winthrop spoke to his people, setting forth a noble mission for the brave little group. He said, in part: “. . . for wee must Consider that wee shall be as a Citty upon a Hill, the eies of all people are uppon us: soe that if wee shall deale falsely with our god in this worke wee have undertaken and soe cause him to withdrawe his present help from us, wee shall shame the faces of many of gods worthy servants, and cause theire prayers to be turned into Cursses upon us till wee be consumed out of the good land whither wee are going . . . . But if our heartes shall turne away soe that wee will not obey, but shall be seduced and worship . . . other Gods, our pleasures, and proffitts, and serve them . . . wee shall surely perishe out of the good Land whither wee passe over this vast Sea to possess it. Therefore lett us choose life . . .”
Our founders, imperfect as they were, saw themselves in a holy covenant with God. They were to set an example, in this new country, a country that would become a shining light to all nations. They would not work for their own welfare and enrichment, but for the good of the all. They would not live chiefly for earthly profits, but would seek spiritual wholeness in this Promised Land.
What we are seeing now in the present financial crisis is the logical and inevitable result of the breaking of that covenant with the Holy. We have seen individual profit–greed, if you will–taking precedence over the good of the community in our country’s two most powerful arenas: government and business, which have worked so closely together as to be almost inseparable. The system is rotten at the core. It has been for some time. Now all has been revealed.
So what is going to happen? Unless the people rise up and demand reform, demand that this country change its nefarious ways of plunder and empire-building, we will go under economically, and we will likely drag the rest of the world with us. Perhaps we need to enter our version of the “Great Depression” before the light bulb turns on, and we discover we have a serious, serious spiritual problem. You see, spiritual problems always seem unimportant to the secular mind–until one understands that this is the relational ground we all come from, and when it cracks and shatters, we are lost.
God help us. And I mean that, in the most literal sense.