As I recall my walk through a regional shopping mall a while back, it’s difficult not to think about Jesus’ words from Matthew 6, the passage one would hear as Lent begins, about storing up treasures on earth and in heaven. It is quite apparent that moths and rust are consuming the earthly inventory of stuff we thought we needed until we didn’t anymore.

          The empty storefronts and retail ghost towns are testament to an inherent short-sightedness and unbridled avarice, an embrace of inflated promises and immediate pleasures with little regard for the environment or prudent land use. A classic, timeless example of “getting while the getting is good.”

          It’s what will always happen when consumption, and being consumers, rules supreme. The economic engine in its current configuration has an unquenchable need for fuel, gobbling up resources with reckless abandon, rendering expendable people’s’ livelihoods, and rendering irrelevant certain ways of doing business. Some will say these are mere casualties of progress. Nonetheless it is ruthless and impersonal. And, sadly, what appears to matter most.

          So there will continue to be a need for what the church offers when it’s at its best: open doors, open hearts, open minds, and Christ-like compassion.

Merry Christmas.

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