First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out,
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out,
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out,
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak for me.
~ Martin Niemöller (1892-1984)
Good morning friends. Martin Niemöller rose to prominence as a strong critic of Adolf Hitler’s campaign. He was a Protestant pastor who used his office to speak against the ills of his time. As a result, he spent the last seven years of the Nazi rule incarcerated in a concentration camp. Unlike many who succumbed to the propaganda, bullying tactics, and peer pressure of his time, he chose to be a voice for the voiceless. He refused to remain at ease amidst the persecution, abuse, killing and harassment of Jews; like Moses, he chose to suffer with God’s people. He used the only weapon he knew best to inject sanity into an insane and godless regime.
Similar to Martin, Amos challenged the state of apathy and spiritual insensitivity demonstrated by the elites and ruling classes in his time;
Woe to you who are at ease in Zion,
And trust in Mount Samaria,
Notable persons in the chief nation,
To whom the house of Israel comes!
And friends today we are faced with the same challenges and opportunities. Do we sit back, relax, counting our blessings and naming them. Naming and claiming as we build our empires, or do we rise up and take our place in God’s kingdom, and live for His glory?
There are no middle grounds, no fence to sit on. The earlier we start, the better – time is running out!
I will bring this thought to a close with these words from Paul. I believe it strengthens my message, and epitomise our call, duty and responsibility;
for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.