Hosea 5:10 (NIV) “Judah’s leaders are like those who move boundary stones.”
I am amazed each morning as I concurrently read the national news, the Scriptures and now, Eric Metaxas’ Bonhoeffer. The parallels between Biblical Judah, pre-Hitler Germany and contemporary America are remarkable.
All three were very religious, Judah being the offspring of Israel, the grandson of Abraham; Germany the seed bed of the protestant faith, steeped in Lutheranism; and now America, just cresting the hill of a day when “In God she trusted.”
Several postings ago, I had cited a quote form MLK, Jr.: “The church must be reminded that it is not the master or the servant of the state, but rather the conscience of the state. It must be the guide and the critic of the state, and never its tool…. If the church does not participate actively in the struggle for peace and for economic and racial justice, it will forfeit the loyalty of millions and cause men everywhere to say it has atrophied its will.”
Now some 40 years later what was a series of moving sermons from a Birmingham jail and tireless blood letting for the sake of justice, has become little more than a holiday and at best a diversity movement, with racial injustice and social ills still prevalent throughout America.
Our churches, with little exception and our neighborhoods are still relatively segregated and our ministers and laity lack the source of passion that drove this then young pastor. Our families are fragmented and our schools are growing ever comfortable producing only a slight percentage more successes than failures. Our debt driven economy is experiencing a widening gap of haves and have-nots, while our graying and often dependant population mushrooms.
The prophet Hosea struggled with the harlot like unfaithfulness of Israel, which ultimately led to their captivity by Assyria. Bonhoeffer expressed similar concerns with the thoughts and actions of the Lutheran Church and the Germany it had afforded; their pastors were in total denial of what was coming about under the Third Reich; even gullible enough to support Hitler’s recommendation of a state church and the bishop he later recommended. How can a nation move so far off base with churches on ever corner?
Then I listen to the public silence of the American Church, amid the roar of fundamentalist, who like those in Germany swallowed the idea that a church state alliance might once again unify Germany, still later justifying genocide as a means of purification of that church.
“Judah’s leaders are like those who move boundary stones.” Personal greed over time will justify a neighbor’s inch by inch encroachment onto adjacent properties. This malady eventually exceeds geography, demanding a life of excess, soon bleeding into other areas of moral and ethical concern. Absurdities like the sell of sub-prime mortgages, cloaked in the language of derivatives, or the recent revelation amid a local bank, founded by the prayerful people of Moravia, would drift to the point of launderings billions in drug money without notice by their board?
Neither Germany nor Judah at a certain point could escape the consequences of their unrighteousness. Will there be an awakening in America?