The Litany of Penitence pressed our hearing ears toward the personal and corporate sinfulness that brought down the economy.
Our self-indulgent appetites and ways and our exploitation of other people, we confess to you, Lord.I was forced to remember that an entire culture and milieu fed the speculative, overreaching consumption of the past few decades. I have been guilty of spending what I did not have, willing to buy underpriced goods and commodities while turning a blind eye toward the exploitative global systems of low wages, workplace dangers, and child labor. I have to admit the temptation to muse about how much better I would do with millions of dollars than the greedy Wall Street bandits have been--no doubt a dangerous self-deception. There is plenty of blame to go around.
Our anger at our own frustration, and our envy of those more fortunate than ourselves, we confess to you, Lord.
Our intemperate love of worldly goods and comforts, and our dishonesty in daily life and work, we confess to you, Lord.
For the wrongs we have done: for our blindness to human need and suffering, and our indifference to injustice and cruelty, accept our repentance, Lord.Even so, with plenty of blame to go around, this week's interactions in Washington, DC, between the Showdown in America movement, the state attorneys general, federal regulators, and bankers, bring our attention to the abuse of structures by robber barons. One of the most troubling absences of moral conscience is the attitude of brokers and financiers who operated on the assumption that they would "get theirs" before the house of cards began to collapse. Too many were willing to stretch the system to its breaking point with little concern that children and families would lose their homes, that elderly people would lose their pensions, that workers would be laid off, and that many banks would fail.
For all false judgments, for uncharitable thoughts toward our neighbors, and for our prejudice and contempt toward those who differ from us, accept our repentance, Lord.
For our waste and pollution of your creation, and our lack of concern for those who come after us, accept our repentance Lord.
One of the most haunting interviews I heard was on This American Life, in a program called "Crybabies." The relevant part of the show is Act One, "Wall Street: Money Never Weeps." It took place in a bar filled with financial executives who a year after the economy crashed were angry with government for proposing regulations on their freedom to do whatever the hell they want to do to make a dollar. None of the Wall Street executives and managers interviewed would accept any of the fault for the economic collapse and its effects on millions of people. None of them felt that there might be an injustice in the fact that their bonuses got bailed out while millions more who had nothing to do with killing the economy lost homes and jobs. Instead, one man had the gall to claim that it was right to bail out his job because he is smarter than everyone else and deserves to continue to be in charge of the economic fortunes of the rest of us.
We have been deaf to your call to serve, as Christ served us.
We have not been true to the mind of Christ.
We have grieved your Holy Spirit.
Have mercy on us, Lord.