by J. Gerald Harris

The Troubler From Tekoa
Gerald J. Harris
Amos 7: 14-16

In 1974, Alexander Solzhenitsyn, who was exiled from the Soviet Union, published a book entitled ''Gulag Archipelago.'' His book was an expose of the atrocities and the horrors of the communist labor camps in the Soviet Union.

Several years ago this balding, sixty year old Nobel Prize winner was the commencement speaker at Harvard University. For speaking to the graduating class he was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Letters degree. The audience was primed to hear another denunciation of the excesses of communistic aggression and oppression by Solzhenitsyn.

But in his first public address in three years, he pulled an Amos on those who were listening. He did not address the East as had been his custom in the past but rather spoke to the West. He spoke out against civic cowardice. He spoke out against what he called a licentious and irresponsible press. He roared like a lion when he spoke again a Godless humanism that had loosened the spiritual fiber of the west. Time Magazine, which is not always noted for its spiritual insights, compared Solzhenitsyn to an Old Testament prophet.

The Harvard audience sat stunned that day as Solzhenitsyn spoke. Afterwards Solzhenitsyn came from another country to speak to us. He came to America and made his home in the rural countryside of Vermont. When he spoke at Harvard that day he came from the countryside to bring his message to an affluent, urban center of learning. He was a man of plain speech, speaking plainly to those who need to hear it. He warned them and us that we can become like a society of men thinking they are resting in the snow, not knowing that their sleep will last forever.

Amos preached his message in a time of material prosperity. It was a time of unchallenged luxury and undisturbed peace. Pride, fullness of bread, but spiritual indifference were the hallmarks of Amos' day.

When Amos came upon the scene he saw beyond the apparent to the r ...

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