by Bob Wickizer

Preach with Your Lives, Pray with Your Work
Bob Wickizer
2 Samuel 6:1-5, 12b-19; Psalm 24; Ephesians 1:3-14; Mark 6:14-29

On our calendar today we find ourselves between two auspicious dates - the Fourth of July and August 6. What happened August 6 you may wonder? In August 1945 the first atomic bomb was tested in the desert sands of New Mexico. Only a few days later the bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki Japan. Rather than judge the righteousness of this cause which we cannot and should not ever do, I would like to reflect on the role of prayer in our common life.

According to a recent book by a Princeton historian, shortly after the Great Depression business leaders in the United States found they had a public image problem. The American public tended to blame big business for all the woes of the Great Depression. In the early 1930s, they found a solution by partnering with the clergy who ministered to the upper echelons of major business leaders. From California to New York preachers built enormous congregations by fusing Christian faith with the gospel of American prosperity. The preaching and writing of this group of clergy strongly opposed the reforms that followed the Depression and many programs we still have today. Chief among these preachers was the young Billy Graham.

The fusion of Christian belief with particular political positions, government and industry was so strong then it would make us blush today or at least shake our heads in amazement. But we must remember the rise of communism was seen as a threat to the civilized world. The Soviet Union tested their first atomic weapon and it terrified the American public. People were building bomb shelters for ''civil defense.'' We cannot judge this era with the retrospective lens looking back through a half century of history. We can however look with caution whenever people on the religious or the political side benefit from such an alliance.

Like the consecration of American gover ...

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