BALTIMORE, MARYLAND – When we left you on Friday, God Himself was on the witness stand. He is accused of setting up a world in which everything comes with a fuse attached.
Businesses fail. Empires decline. People die. It’s planned obsolescence on a cosmic scale.
God doesn’t deny it. But He claims… well… that there’s more to the story.
We’ll get to His testimony in a minute. In the meantime…
The Opposite of Politics
Overheard at Saturday’s family reunion:
“I retired three years ago. But they call me back to fill in when they’re looking for a new pastor.
“I got a call to help a church not too far from here. It was a mess. Half the congregation hated the other half. It was all political. One half were Trump supporters. The other half were Democrats.
“So I told them straightaway that if they wanted to talk politics, they could go somewhere else. I was called to preach the Gospel.
“I’ve been preaching for 50 years… and at this stage in my career, I sure don’t want to die, then have to admit to the Lord that I had been preaching politics; ‘cause there’s no place in the Gospel for politics.
“You know, in the run up to the Civil War, many churches suffered. The abolitionists and the pro-Confederates just couldn’t get along. Even in church, you couldn’t get away from politics. It looks like that is happening again.
“But politics is the opposite of what we’re supposed to be preaching. Politics is all about changing somebody else. Putting one over on him. Taxing him. Forcing him to do what he doesn’t want to do.
“The Gospel is all about changing yourself so you can help other people. Jesus made that very clear.
“When He was in the desert, after fasting for 40 days, the devil came to Him and took Him up to a high mountain. And there, he offered Him political power – all the kingdoms of the Earth. And Jesus said, “Get thee behind me, Satan.”
Church in Lockdown
“I took over the church just before the COVID came. And it was going pretty well. Attendance was increasing.
“Then the state of Virginia told me we couldn’t have services indoors any more…
“I guess I could have just closed up, like offices and stores all over the country. But I figured we were doing something more important than selling lottery tickets. So we held our services outside.
“We did that for a year. It was cold… It rained… It snowed… But I stuck to the Gospel… and my old-fashioned preaching… and people kept coming. More and more of them.
“In a way, the lockdown was a blessing. I think we all remembered what Christianity is all about.
“Finally, they found a full-time pastor and I was able to turn it over to him. But it was in better shape than I found it…”
And now… let’s continue hearing God’s side of the story…
It’s me again. GOD. With a capital G.
I was explaining that I take responsibility for the seasons… including the seasons of a life… or of an empire.
The warm spring rains bring forth the green leaves. The chilly winds of autumn send them fluttering to the ground. There’s the cradle. And the grave.
Americans are not to blame for this pattern. I am.
So, if their empire is in decline, it’s nothing to be embarrassed about. It was in the cards, so to speak. Nobody escapes death. No empire avoids decline. It’s just the way things work.
Man is My creation. And what can I say? He is what he is. When he sticks to My rules and My limits – he does tolerably well. And when the story is finished, he comes to Me for the verdict.
He should be making honest, win-win deals… giving and getting… smiling and saying please and thank you. That’s how My world is supposed to work.
But politics has always been a temptation. Man uses it to get other peoples’ money… or just to get power over them. King David, for example, used his political power to sleep with another man’s wife.
Slavery… wars… pogroms… gulags… hyperinflation… everything from the Akkadian conquests to the War on Drugs – all come from politics. Some people think they’re getting away with something… others think they are building a world even better than the one I gave them…
And then, it all goes bad.
That, of course, is what is happening in the USA today. And everybody knows it.
Spending money you don’t have. Printing up fake money to cover your deficits. Bullying foreigners with wars and sanctions. And forcing your own fellow citizens to submit to the latest political fads.
Yes, you’ve let politics take over every part of national life… so that even churches are ruined by it.
This isn’t going to end well. Never does.
But wait. There’s more to the story.
If, as you say, there’s a fuse attached to everything… isn’t there a fuse on human progress, too?
That’s right; there are other limits out there.
And these are My fault, too.
Do you have a minute more? I’ll tell you about one of them.
But we’ve run out of time for today. We respectfully adjourn for the day…
God promises to return tomorrow.
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