We mustn’t become so wrapped up in fear of losing our freedoms that we forget our purpose – sharing the good news.
Prophetically, we know we are going to lose our freedoms. That’s why we have to make the most of the freedom we have with the time we have. Unfortunately, much of American Christiandom has become so wrapped up in a false construct of religious freedom (freedom for their own belief system, but not for others), that it is having the effect of chasing people away from Christianity because of the hypocrisy.
We recently celebrated the season of Passover, when the Israelites were instructed to stay within their homes while the angel of death massacred someone in every family of those who followed their deluded leader while ignoring the cries of the suffering. These people insisted on putting their faith in the hollow promises of a leader who deceived them with accusations of “fake news” as the plagues fell in succession. They believed the leader when he said the poor and oppressed were simply too lazy to pull themselves up by their bootstraps. “You are idle, you are idle; that is why you say, ‘Let us go and sacrifice to the LORD.’ Go now and work. No straw will be given you, but you must still deliver the same number of bricks.” (Apparently, Pharaoh was a job creator. “The wealth will eventually trickle down, just wait for it!”)
God’s people were told to put their faith in the Blood of the Lamb (a symbol for the eventual sacrifice of Jesus). They were not to put their faith in the leader or his servants who mocked them and mocked God, claiming the leader and his servants also had god-given power. And putting their faith in God meant taking real actions to protect themselves and others.
For a week, the Israelites were told to be soberly prepared while the Egyptians were out doing their day-to-day activities, which recently had a lot to do with cleaning up after a whole lot of unprecedented hot, bloody, froggy, locusty, hailey, diseasey messes (nature sure did seem out of whack… but it’s not real. Pharaoh said so.) God’s people were told to trust God and stay in their homes while the pestilence passed over. This did not mean making it a party where they migrated from one house to another, dashing under each blood-tinged lintel, claiming they were invulnerable because they were under the blood of the lamb. It meant stay put with those in their household.
It seems very symbolic of our times. While there are doctors and nurses and grocers and others who are sacrificing their own safety to carry people through this pandemic, there are many who continue to follow their scoffing Pharaoh, blinded to the fact that he cares about nothing but his own interests. There are people who don’t take this pestilence seriously, parroting Pharaoh’s pronouncements of fake news. There are even those who claim to be protected by the blood of the Lamb who still carelessly dash from one Christian house party to the next, dancing carelessly close to Pestilence, thinking that it won’t affect them, and if it does, it’s God’s will and all will be okay… but what of the people left in the wake of such carelessness? What of the vulnerable who will die because Pestilence was given a free ride an yet another host? What of those who have not had the experience of getting to know God, and are permanently turned off by the supposed Christians that are so careless with the souls of others because they feel secure in their own salvation? This is the essence of the commandment , “You shall not take the name of God in vain.” We mustn’t call ourselves Christian if we are going to misrepresent God to the rest of the world.
Bricks without straw: Exodus 5
Beginning of the plagues: Exodus 7
Blood on the Doorpost: Exodus 12
Taking God’s name in vain: Exodus 20:7