THE HYPOCRISY OF THE LAW IS CONTAGIOUS
Second Sunday on the March to Jerusalem
Daniel 6:13-22 DANIEL IN THE LIONS DEN Matthew 19:3-9 ON DIVORCE
Daniel was an undocumented person in a foreign land. He had won favor because he had great vision and could read dreams, but he was loyal to his faith and prayed three times a day. Hypocrites who feared the growing power of Daniel’s people persuaded the king to make a law that all people had to bow down to an idol once a day. Daniel refused to obey the hypocritical law which was designed to break his faith. He refused to bow to the idol and continued to pray to God three times a day. The hypocrites told the King that Daniel was violating the king’s law, so the King had Daniel thrown in among hungry lions. But the lions did not attack Daniel. This showed the King that Daniel was innocent, even though he broke a hypocritical law.
Daniel confronted a hypocritical law with his innocence and his faithfulness- and he was victorious, overcoming even the punishment of death. His victory saved his people.
Daniel’s strategy was also the strategy of Jesus to save his people. He would confront unjust hypocritical laws, laws which oppressed his people, with his own innocence and faithfulness. When they crucified him, it would expose their hypocrisy. When he was resurrected, it would free his people from their fear of their oppressors. Just as when Daniel was freed from the Lion’s den. It would also inspire them to cleanse themselves of their own hypocrisy.
We face a hypocritical law. The immigration law that is oppressing our community. That law was passed in 1996 by a Republican Congress who convinced President Clinton to sign it just as the hypocrites convinced the King in the time of Daniel. For years this nation used millions of people to make them wealthy and when they became too many, and when they had U.S. citizen children who would grow up and become voters, these racist hypocrites determined to use a law to drive them from the country. 9/11 gave them excuse. As Elvira said,”They couldn’t find Bin Ladin so they found me, because I wasn’t hiding.”
To fight this hypocrisy, we followed the ”Jesus plan.” Courageous families facing separation came out and testified in public, they marched and they protested and they went before the members of Congress. They took their case to the Supreme Court. Like Daniel, and like Jesus, they said,”We can’t follow your law because we are following God’s law; that is, what God has joined together no man can separate.
We know the history of that struggle because many of its leaders are right here in this church. It did not change the law because of Barack’s betrayal so we continued with our testimony and our marches and our confrontation with the president. And finally we forced them to give us the policy of prosecutorial discretion.
To be innocent is to follow God’s law in defiance of a hypocritical law. We exposed their hypocrisy. We had victories. Those victories freed the people of their fears. It also showed us the importance of the unity and faithfulness of the family.
You see that is the Jesus plan. Those who are truly faithful to God’s law are made innocent by their faithfulness. This is because it is the hypocrisy that denies us the power of the faith and separates us from God. When we confront that hypocrisy, we are free of it and we are restored to our faith. And the witness to that faith and innocence will give us victory.
Jesus confronted the hypocritical authorities on their teaching on divorce – and he did it in front of the people. The authorities held that you could get a divorce only if the priests gave you a certificate of divorce. That was the law. So you had to know a friendly priest.
Jesus said,”What God had put together no man should tear apart.” You see, the priests were telling the poor people they were sinners for getting a divorce – but giving each other certificates any time they wanted to change wives. Hypocrisy!
I want you to think what that kind of hypocrisy does to us. In this country they talk about family values. They have a law that says marriage is only between a man and a woman –in order to prohibit gay marriages. But the divorce rate among U.S. citizens is the highest in the world. The average marriage lasts only two years. And they don’t mind breaking up families with their immigration law.
After a while, we begin to accept this hypocrisy –if we don’t struggle against it. I am telling you that hypocrisy is a disease and it is contagious. Marriage is not just an agreement for companionship. Marriage is a covenant to provide for and raise children in the ways of the Lord. Marriage is a sacred covenant to continue the people of God, to make them survive and become as many as the stars in the sky. And so it is a covenant with God. In this covenant with God, two people are so joined, that not even death can separate them, because they are joined in God’s time. When I perform a marriage here in this church, I not only feel the presence of GodI can see the two people in heaven together, surrounded by angels, angels that will protect them if they are faithful. That is what I see in those moments of the marriage ceremony and I am telling you it causes me to tremble!
And yet, when you accept the hypocrisy of the law, the hypocrisy around you, you don’t take marriage seriously. You don’t prepare for it. You don’t wait until you and your partner both are clear about the purpose of your lives and your love for each other. Then your marriages become boiling pots of jealousy and selfishness and arguments and unfaithfulness and even violence, like a pot of live crabs in boiling water.
Young people should go into the world with the powerful memory of a family filled with love and harmony, of parents who loved each other and who loved them unconditionally; of parents who patiently taught them and gave them everything they could give them; with parents who worked hard and struggled hard. When they are tempted to accept less, when they make mistakes, those memories will return them to the right track in their lives
But often that is not what is happening –because we accept the hypocrisy, the same hypocrisy which oppresses us, which separates our family with its hypocritical law. Broken families make for children who will live broken lives.
And broken families spread their brokenness, their jealousy and selfishness and anger and violence to the community around them, to the church around them and to the movement of the people. They become a fountain of poison for everyone. They are contagious. They have consequences for everyone around you.
Marriages may not work out. We make mistakes. But that is not the way it is supposed to be. We should not easily accept that. And if it happens, both people need to learn from it. They need to form a new relationship, form a new kind of covenant of forgiveness and respect that continues to provide order and support and instruction and love for the children.
I know what the church teaches but the Muslims have a different point of view. When people get married they hold back on having children for a year. If they don’t get along, they just call it off. Maybe that is something we should consider.
It is ironic that families split apart by deportation often remain stronger than families that face no external pressure but fall apart by themselves. That is why we honor the fathers and mothers who were deported but come back facing the danger of prison to be with and to support their families. They know the value and purpose of family in their heart. They can learn how to be together in love and respect and keep God’s purpose for them.
Our ministry, Familia Latina Unida, is not just a tactic to fight an unjust law. It is a commission. It is recognition that we have a destiny. 20 million people, 20 million mothers and fathers and sons and daughters, fighting to keep their families together, is an offer of redemption to a country which has hypocritically let the family fall apart. If this nation does not welcome this offer, it condemns itself.
If you know your purpose; if you are joined together in common purpose, than love grows. Material things are dead. There is no life in them. Love produces life and a culture of life, for our God is a God of life.
You see we don’t just read the Bible because that is what you do on Sundays in church. The Bible is the story of the struggle of the people of God: the struggle against oppression, the struggle against hypocrisy and the struggle to resist the effects of hypocrisy on our lives. We find ourselves in it – because it is our story. We are like Daniel’s people and we learn from the wisdom of his struggle.
The Bible gives us the Jesus plan. We confront hypocrisy with innocence and faithfulness – and God intervenes just as he protected Daniel in the Lion’s den. Just as he resurrected Jesus from the dead. Confronting the hypocrisy restores our faith and our innocence.
We had a sign of God’s intervention this year. We had a posada at Rush hospital. Among those who went to demand their right to health care at that rich people’s hospital was a man named Sergio. His wife, his sister-in-law and his brother-in-law brought him just the way people brought their loved ones who were ill to Jesus. They believed that God wanted Sergio to see. They were there to confront the hypocrisy of the hospital and the hypocrisy of a nation that passed a law which denied healthcare to the undocumented, which made them the uninsurable. They came with faith that their God was a God of life.
Sergio is diabetic and he had become blind. The doctors at county said he could have his sight back with a laser treatment – but that it was expensive and he had no insurance. Yet he came – and his family brought him in faith.
Because of that little posada, because it publicly convicted the hospital and the nation of hypocrisy, Sergio got his treatment the next day. Like the song we sang today: “I was blind, but now I see.” Amen.
Maybe you didn’t see what we were doing before with this ministry. Maybe you were blind. We are fighting for life. Maybe now you can see! Maybe now you will volunteer. Maybe now you will sacrifice and contribute the resources we need.
We are going to continue to fight to keep families together when they are attacked by the broken law. We are going to continue with the 4 plus 1 to get 20 campaign, to build an army of 1000 young people bringing 10,000 of the uninsurable before the hypocrisy of health care in this nation, because God has given us a sign by his intervention that that is what he calls us to do.
Still, we need to be more than a church. We are asking you to form small communities of faith of five to ten families, to live the Jesus plan; that will keep purpose in your family; that will read and find your place in the Bible together; that will keep your family from accepting the hypocrisy of this nation; that will be the beginning of a movement that will change this nation and lift injustice from our lives. Begin to think about it. Pray about it.We will follow Jesus and his teaching to the cross and to his resurrection on Easter. Then we will begin to organize the small faith communities. 7 weeks later, on Pentecost, we will have the first assembly of the faith communities.
There is nothing we can’t do with God. For He restores our faith and our innocence with his forgiveness and his wisdom and he confounds our enemies with the faith and new innocence he gives us.
We were blind but soon we will see. We were in the shadows and we were shamed and disrespected, but soon we will inherit this nation. For God has planted us here, like oaks of righteousness, his Glory to make known.
Bring on your Lions, your Romneys and your Santorems, that want to destroy our families, your Obamas with his broken promises. We stand on the promise of God. The Lions cannot hurt us. Your laws cannot destroy us. Your hypocrisy cannot infect us. God is with us. We are his people and he is our God. We shall overcome!
Amen? Amen! Amen!
The Scriptures for the Second Week in the March To Jerusalem
Daniel 6:13-22 DANIEL IN THE LIONS DEN
Then they said to the king, “Daniel, who is one of the exiles from Judah, pays no attention to you, Your Majesty, or to the decree you put in writing. He still prays three times a day.” When the king heard this, he was greatly distressed; he was determined to rescue Daniel and made every effort until sundown to save him. Then the men went as a group to King Darius and said to him, “Remember, Your Majesty, that according to the law of the Medes and Persians no decree or edict that the king issues can be changed.” So the king gave the order, and they brought Daniel and threw him into the lions’ den. The king said to Daniel, “May your God, whom you serve continually, rescue you!” A stone was brought and placed over the mouth of the den, and the king sealed it with his own signet ring and with the rings of his nobles, so that Daniel’s situation might not be changed. Then the king returned to his palace and spent the night without eating and without any entertainment being brought to him. And he could not sleep. At the first light of dawn, the king got up and hurried to the lions’ den. When he came near the den, he called to Daniel in an anguished voice, “Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to rescue you from the lions?” Daniel answered, “May the king live forever! My God sent his angel, and he shut the mouths of the lions. They have not hurt me, because I was found innocent in his sight. Nor have I ever done any wrong before you, Your Majesty.”
Matthew 19:3-9 On Divorce
Some Pharisees came to him to test him. They asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?” “Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” “Why then,” they asked, “did Moses command that a man give his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away?” Jesus replied, “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.”