The Covid-19 Economy & The Liquidity of Jesus’ Blood
“Don’t look now but there is something funny going on over there at the bank” said Ernie the cab driver in the iconic run on the bank scene of Its a Wonderful Life. I’ve thought of this scene several times during the Covid-19 pandemic and the screeching halt of the global economy. Of all the dominos that fall when people stop getting paid and stop paying, one possibility that gives me a shudder is that people would run to the banks to withdraw their money in hard cash. Your money isn’t sitting in the bank…its loaned out to that stalling business, that questionable mortgage, and out on margin to people speculating in a falling stock market. The system works fine until it doesn’t.
On a macro level markets and investors have watched desperately to see if the Congress would put together a relief package…an injection of liquid capital to consumers and business to keep payments moving and prevent a global equivalent of the lobby scene at the Building and Loan.
Jesus told a story about a type of bank run in Matthew 18 where a forgiven debtor turned demanding immediate cash-in-hand payment from one who owed him. Human nature can get so nasty when a climate of lack and self-preservation is in the air. Its easy to imagine how that second debtor might have to go demand immediate payment from those who owed him and on and on the chain of demand goes. Its a nasty chain that feels all too real.
God the Father injects ample grace into our sinful social economy. In Matthew 5 Jesus tells his followers that they can enter into a new economy that actually gives freely, not just to friends but even to enemies and those who have wronged them. They can give to those who demand without demanding in return. The sun and the rain themselves are means of grace that flow from God to the undeserving and with no strings attached. No quid pro quo. God gives lavishly and unexpectedly.
And then on the rugged wood of Good Friday Jesus injects the ultimate liquid capital into the desperate human race…the liquidity of his blood. He says “Father, forgive them” from a place of searing pain while he gives good news to a pitiful dying thief. The injection of his blood into this world reframes the real world we live in now. All of the times I have been wounded and disappointed can be reevaluated in light of the relief I have received. All of my deep since of personal lack and shame are reaccounted for. I can now break the next link in the demanding chain. The locked down economy of judgement and demand is lubricated by his blood and the wheels can begin to turn…wheels of grace, and love, and forgiveness. We are rich my friends. Happy Easter.