In the classic board game, Monopoly, the goal is to play until one person has all the money and owns every
property. It is an anti-communitarian game for sure as each player is focused on their own ultimate success. Yes, sometimes unsanctioned alliances are temporarily created but if you play the game to the end only one person can be successful.
There’s an old anti-Monopoly board game called “Go for Broke.” The goal of the game, which I confess I’ve played far fewer times than Monopoly, is to lose all your money. Perhaps I’ve played this game less often because it is too much like real life. Still, it is not really the opposite of Monopoly because it still involves the movement of things with the ultimate goal of one winner.
Neither game reflects what it means to be in tune with being a follower of Jesus. Though many of us in western culture — especially North America — try to mesh the Monopoly mindset with our faith, in the end they cannot coexist. Capitalism in its most radical form is about winning at the expense of all others. In its most radical form, it is about accumulating as much as possible regardless of others.
Whoever tries to preserve their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life will preserve it. Luke 17:33 CEB (Read in context.)
The teachings of Jesus lead us in the opposite direction. Jesus calls us to live in community for God is a god of relationship. Jesus calls us to let go so that we might be able to see the other: those who are not like us. Jesus calls us to let go of the idols be they the accumulation of money, tech-toys, shiny cars, or attitudes such as our desire to be in control.
When we let go of these idols, we can perceive the One who loves extravagantly. We see the divine in everyone we meet, in creation, in the relationships between all that is, and all who are. And, yes even in ourselves. The freedom that most of us only glimpse from time to time, liberates. Suddenly we become more relaxed about things that previously angered or stressed us.
When we let go, seeking to simply be in the moment with ourselves and those around us, a peace descends upon us. And while the things of this world like bills, troubled relationships, and horrors on the news still bother us, they no longer control us.
When we let go and live in the moment we are true to the divinity, the image of God, in ourselves. It is in that moment of trueness that we hear the luring voice of the One who loves extravagantly. It is in that moment that it is clear our call in this world is not to judge but to love.
Creating Energy, May we find moments in the day to simply be. May we glimpse you today and respond to love with love. Amen.