Maundy Thursday. Good Friday. Easter

We call these holy days by names now so familiar their meaning recedes. We troop to service on Maundy Thursday, knowing we will witness the reenactment of the washing of the feet of the apostles by Jesus at the Last Supper. But the real call to witness is the call of the commandment  Christ left his apostles after that sacramental meal: “Love one another as I have loved you.”

Ramsay Taum

On Wednesday evening of this Easter week, I heard that message said another way, through the lens of Hawaiian culture. I was lucky to be among those who heard Ramsay Taum speak to the Hogan Entrepreneurs about “The Raising of the Blue Continent.”  He talked about what it means to look at the world from the perspective of people who live on islands in the world’s largest unrecognized “continent”—the Pacific Ocean. He suggested that perhaps we have got our measures of success and fulfillment all wrong. Instead of asking: “How much money have I made?” one should be asking “How many people have I fed? How many have I housed?” The notion that each person’s well-being is critical to the well-being of the community is central to Hawaiian culture. As it is to Christian teaching.

Jay Fidell, ThinkTech HI

What is particularly important about the questions Ramsay Taum raised is that he is a business-friendly trainer, not a wild-eyed prophet in the wilderness. The questions he asks are not unlike those Jay Fidell  raised recently about the need to address homelessness. In dismantling the faux arguments that are made about the homeless and urging meaningful action, Fidell helped us understand that making sure your neighbor has a roof over his head is a matter of both moral urgency and good economics.

Last Sunday on MSNBC’s “Meet the Press,” PBS talk show host, Tavis Smiley in discussing the battle over the budget in Washington reminded his fellow panelists and viewers that “the budget is a moral document.” That is a notion that should be inscribed on every budget and every balance sheet. Perhaps it might help prompt a little soul-searching—among some CEOs at least— about the morality of bonuses they take in even as they lay off employees to improve profitability. Perhaps it might prompt some, if not GE, to consider the morality of a system that allows a company that makes billions to drastically lower its tax obligations in ways that ordinary wage earners cannot. Is the need to maximize profit to shareholders somehow more deserving than the need to feed a family?

The many politicians who flaunt their Christian values should have no trouble embracing the notion of a budget as a moral document if they really read the bibles they thump so enthusiastically on the campaign trail. If they do, they cannot, in  conscience, approach the budget challenge by continuing to pad the tax cushions of the rich while fraying the safety nets that exist for the poor.

Perhaps one should take Tavis Smiley’s point a step further and remind ourselves that the contracts we enter are all moral documents. Whether it is a small business or a multi-national enterprise, the call to love one another might help us resist the impulse to put profits over people. Hokey? Maybe not so this week of all weeks.  Not this week when we are reminded by the Passover meal, the Passion and the Resurrection that the Easter season is as much about willing surrender and unimaginable sacrifice on behalf of others as it is about the triumph of the soul.  It’s just so much easier to talk about the Easter bunny. . .

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Posted in Budget, Easter, Good Friday, Hawaiian Values, I BLOG, Maundy Thursday, Taxes, Uncategorized
5 comments on “Maundy Thursday. Good Friday. Easter
  1. Gwen mayer says:

    Not an ounce of hokiness in your words, insights, and inspiration. You are an eloquent voice in this darkness of capitalistic excess, and lack of concern for the ordinary middle and working poor classes. Keep speaking and writing!

  2. Kathleen McAlister says:

    “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’ They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’ He will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least among you, you did not do for me.'”

    -Matthew 25:41-45

    Having grabbed the mantle of the moral imperative proposed in the 1964 War on Poverty written by Pres. Johnson, I think joing the church that year after completing my lessons in the Methodist Church propelled me 100% into social work from that year until now at my age of 60. I waded through the endless debates of whether social engineering was possible or probable, and whether we, the great society, could make a difference until I simply decided doing the right thing was enough. Now that I am working in a special needs school as an aide, being right in my heart and soul is my new layer of meaning. I don’t have the strength to do what I did for hours in my youth and middle years; trying to fix what I could in our collective huddled masses. I became a piece of the huddled mass as I found myself burnt out by that endless struggle. Now I do what I can with what I have. I don’t suffer from grand illusions that I am THE path maker to the American Dream for others. I was for a few and that is what reality I have to give to the world. A few. I do what I can to sow the seeds of hope and faith….I do what I can.

    And I think that something that simple is all that is asked of each of us now when our old passions burn lower and our hearts ache for meaning. I love reading this blog because I find myself polishing off the rust of those early days and thinking smarter about how to make a difference and how to influence others to do the same. I have my voice.

    I find myself working with special needs kids who are simply struggling to stay alive in a world that decides if they need programs or if they need to be warehoused as we have traditionally done to our least in our historical pasts. Each human being has a gift to give and who decides not to receive these gifts based on monies available or not? If I have learned that my largest faults of impatience and self will are tempered by these children who need a simple smile, a simple task or a simple bit of structure, have I not learned one of the best lessons in life? There is a level playing field at the foot of the cross.

  3. The holy week reminds us of our Saviour Jesus Christs who was nailed to the cross to save the world from our sins.

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