8th SUN ORD – “Mammon…”

mammon   Hmmmm, food for thought.  So, what the heck is mammon?

The Gr. μαμωνᾶς is a rendering of the status emphaticus מָמוֹנָא of the current Aram. noun מָמוֹן. The derivation is uncertain, though it most likely comes from אמן == “that in which one trusts” [Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, Vol. 4, 388]

In what or in whom do I place confidence, do I trust?  Status?  Reputation?  “stuff?”  Talent?  Smarts?  Good looks?  Savings?  Clothes?  Degrees?  Accomplishments?  Whom I know?

It doesn’t matter what or whom we place trust.  It doesn’t matter whether we know all the things or people we put our trust in.  I turn to my new BFF, Ernest Becker (Denial of Death) for what does matter.

Actually, this comes from Sam Keen’s Foreword to the book:

“The basic motivation for human behavior is our biological need to control our basic anxiety, to deny the terror of death.  Human beings are naturally anxious because we are ultimately helpless and abandoned in a world where we are fated to die…

“Since the terror of death is so overwhelming, we conspire to keep it unconscious. ‘The vital lie of character’ is the first line of defense that protects us from the painful awareness of our helplessness..” (xii)

The good news, if you can call it that, is that God in Christ through the Holy Spirit has opened a backdoor to our highly protected fortresses wherein we labor in fear and with defensive aggression.  The backdoor opens to the journey through the woundedness and vulnerability that fuels our idolatry.

Purified from what drives us – oh so slowly, it seems – we just might begin to bow to God rather than our idols.

Repentance, then, involves learning to embrace the emptiness, unworthiness, fear of being seen as inadequate, and resentments and be embraced in that part of our lives. 

Happy Lent!

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