Casting Out Demons
(March, 2003 POL)
Topic: God's Greatness
Text: Isaiah 40:21-31
There are a lot of things happening that do not seem to fit the picture we have of ourselves. So many of our cherished notions have been shattered. Two of those notions have been shattered and who knows which of them hurts us the worse. One is that the oceans are so wide that war will never come to our shores. We used to think that all the fighting and killing would be somewhere else. The second notion was our illusion that we are the great humanitarian power in the world and all the people around the world will love us because we are so generous and kind. And yet the masses of people who seem to positively hate us seems to be growing.
Only two weeks ago we get another blow to our illusions. Our myth has been that rocket scientists are the brightest and best of our nation. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to know that we have used rocket scientists as the image of the smartest and most brilliant of our kind, and last week our rocket scientists prove again they were human like the rest of us. And we just heard the news that more than half the babies born in California at the end of 2001 were latinos. In the year 2017 in California the majority of voters will be hispanic. We who have held the power for so long are watching the changing of the political process. No wonder we are frightened.
So there are tears in our eyes, there is anger and hurt in our heart, we are confused and disappointed, we want to put the pieces back together, we want somebody to assure us that everything will be okay. We have experts still talking about the long view on the stock market. But we are all being forced to find a new life under strange and radically different conditions. We are suddenly being asked to live without the symbols of our old securities. Life has been split into fragments. And the first response always is to rush back and to try to embrace the old securities. Make the old idols fit the new realities. The slogan on the back of the pick up truck read, "God, Guns, and Guts made America great, lets keep all three" And so we have a determined government trying to show great guts with military power to protect and defend America and calling at the end of every speech for God to bless America. Maybe if we try harder we can make the old symbols work again.
It was the prophet Isaiah who tried to speak a different word of hope into his exiled people. The city of Jerusalem, the home of God, the holy city, the evidence that God dwelt with Israel and had made a covenant with her, had been defeated. God was no longer able or willing to protect her. These choice people were now in exile. Those who once lived in great palaces now lived in tents. Those who had once given orders and been obeyed were now servants. And while maybe they never suggested that God did not exist, they were pretty sure he had abandoned them, forgotten them, forsaken them or no longer cared about them or worse, maybe God could just no longer do anything about their situation, maybe God of the Jews was not equal to the God of Babylon.