Wednesday, April 06, 2011

idolatry

Although we will be out of town and miss the event, our parish is preparing to experience the Seder, the annual remembrance celebrated by Jews all over the world to commemorate their deliverance and freedom from slavery in Egypt. This is not the first year that we have held a Seder, but the institutional memory is weak, people have come and gone, and, well, it needs some work.

Last night I was searching online for a text for a Seder that we could use, and this morning as I was listening to the news I recalled a portion of it.

Why was the lamb chosen for sacrifice? Because this is the animal that the Egyptians worshiped. The shank-bone on our Seder plate symbolizes our rejection of idolatry. Idolatry has taken a different form in every age. In our own time, we have witnessed the results of idolatry when people place complete, unquestioning faith in someone or something other than God. This occurred in Germany, where eleven million souls, including six million of our own people, were tragically and cruelly lost. The presence of the shank-bone on our Seder plate reminds us of our obligation to combat idolatry whenever and wherever we encounter it, in order to insure the spiritual freedom of all.
Idolatry. Apparently at risk in this potential government shutdown is pay to our soldiers. Does that not slap you in the face? The "principle" of  reducing the size of government has become an idol to certain members of our elected leadership. It is more important to them to hold fast to their principles than to pass a budget that is far from perfect. A budget that will take the edge off of the pain of communities that are cutting back on the expense of school buses, where teachers are demoralized, and city transportation is getting the ax and people can't get to their jobs. This is a budget in peril because corporations aren't paying their share of taxes, and some aren't paying any. This is a budget in peril because tax-free living has become an idol to people who believe they are entitled to live freely while bearing no responsibility for the cost of that freedom.

We must all bear the burden of the life we inherited from those who came before us and paved the way for public education, job training, family leave, and discrimination-busting bravery and acts. To name but a few things. All. Of. Us. Our military and their families are already making the kind of sacrifices that some of us already understand and others of us don't want to entertain in our imaginations. It is beyond unacceptable to take more from them. And because they put it on the line for you, and me, and the millions they have never met and will never know, we are in their debt.

The idolatrous members of congress need to read the Gospel as many times as it takes to internalize the message that what we do to the least of any among us we do to what is divine and holy. There but for the grace of God, remember?

Honor God, therefore. Honor those who have given all. Honor those who love them. Honor the rest of us who are grateful. Don't make me get out of my chair.

1 comment:

The Bug said...

Amen.

Last night at Bible study we were finishing up chapter 3 of The Good Book (I know, we're slow). Find your copy & read the page after the end of chapter 3 - a quote about reading the gospels. It is pretty amazing to me the people who do things for supposedly Christian reasons who have apparently never really paid attention to the gospels.

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