Thursday, February 27, 2014

Dry wood?

Zion said, “The LORD has forsaken me;
my LORD has forgotten me.”
Can a mother forget her infant,
be without tenderness for the child of her womb?
Even should she forget,
I will never forget you.
(Isaiah 49:14-15)

This passage from Isaiah is the first reading for this coming Sunday, March 2nd. How ironic that we hear these words proclaimed while we live in an age when many women DO forget their infants and show the opposite of tenderness for the children in their wombs. Just a few weeks ago marked the anniversary of Roe v. Wade. More than 55 million infants have been aborted by their mothers in our country.

As we prepare to enter into Lent next week I am also reminded of the words of Jesus that we commemorate at the eighth station of the cross:
Jesus turned to them and said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep instead for yourselves and for your children, for indeed, the days are coming when people will say, ‘Blessed are the barren, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed.’ At that time people will say to the mountains, ‘Fall upon us!’ and to the hills, ‘Cover us!’ for if these things are done when the wood is green what will happen when it is dry?” (Luke 23:28-31)
We are living in the days that Jesus predicted. Contraception is not just accepted but considered a fundamental human right, so much so that the government now mandates that it be provided for free to all regardless of religious objections. Childlessness is celebrated and even has its own special day. Those that make it through the contraception gauntlet face the prospect of being ripped limb from limb, chemically poisoned, or decapitated within their mothers’ wombs. The tiniest of victims offered on the altar of materialism that undervalues the dignity of human life in favor of pursuing personal comfort or choice.

There are those who look at natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina or Super Storm Sandy and claim that these are examples of God’s judgment on a sinful nation. Others predict a future judgment coming in the form of economic collapse or social upheaval. After all, the blood of so many innocents cries out for justice; how long will God look the other way. Sooner or later America will face God’s wrath and judgment.

Here’s a scary thought, we are already under God’s judgment and it has nothing to do with Katrina, Sandy, recessions or any other calamities. In fact, our continued peace and prosperity is God’s judgment. No divine intervention is judgment. “Therefore, God handed them over to impurity through the lusts of their hearts for the mutual degradation of their bodies.” (Rom. 1:24) Mercy would be intervening in some dramatic way that jolts a society lost in its own narcissistic gaze in such a way that they realize the depravity of their sin so that they turn and repent. Judgment is allowing the sinful to prosper along the way of destruction. It’s a terrifying reality. 

For a culture that seeks pleasure and avoids pain at all costs (even at the exploitation of the weak), the words of C.S. Lewis are true, “We can ignore even pleasure. But pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”

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