Summary: Our condition in our Church and our country is so far gone, that only heartfelt, deep, corporate Church repentance could mediate to some degree our impending punishment.
Stand in the Gap!
"I have searched among them for someone who could build a wall or stand in the gap before me to keep me from destroying the land; but I found no one.Therefore
I have poured out my fury upon them; with my fiery wrath I have consumed them; I have brought down their conduct upon their heads, says the Lord GOD."
Back in the days of Daniel, King Belshazzar threw a drunken brawl for a thousand of his cronies and drank from the "golden and silver vessels taken from the
house of God in Jerusalem." They worshipped idols and profaned God’s sacred things at a sacrilegious feast. Then the hand of God appeared and His finger wrote on the wall, MENE, TEKEL and PERES. "When the king saw the wrist and hand that wrote, his face blanched; his thoughts terrified him, his hip joints shook, and his knees knocked."
Then Daniel was brought into the King’s presence to interpret the writing. This is what Daniel aid: "These words mean, MENE, God has numbered your kingdom and put an end to it; TEKEL, you have been weighed on the scales and found wanting; PERES, your kingdom has been divided and given to the Medes and Persians... The same night Belshazzar, the Chaldean king, was slain." (cf Dan 5) The time betwen the handwriting on the wall and punishment was very short!
We have had in our country three very dramatic events in the last 18 months. First we had 9-11, the World Trade Center disaster. Then we had the Catholic
Church scandals (our 9-11 warning.) Then we had the recent Space shuttle disaster. Are these events our hand writing on the wall from God? Is the Catholic Church in America and our nation being weighed in God’s scales of justice and found wanting? Are our days numbered? Scripture says judgment starts with the house of God. Since the hand of God is revealing the corruption and shame at the highest levels of the Church in America, that indicates that happy days are not ahead for America. Rather it indicates that shame, judgment and punishment are around the corner.
James Hitchcock, a founder of the Fellowship of Catholic Scholars, wrote an article recently entitled "Why the American Church can’t change" In it he states:
- "Some Bishops have stated publicly that they do not regard homosexuality as even relevant to clerical pedophillia, even though most clerical pedophilles
prey on boys."
- Dissenters and those sympathetic to dissent, are so deeply entrenched on all levels of American Catholicism that they are now in the process of exploiting to their own advantage, the most devastating manifestations of their position."
Dissent has been allowed by the Bishops to go unchallenged and unchecked for decades. From Humanae Vitae to Ex Corde Ecclesiae and lots in between, the
Bishops have "dissed" the Vatican. Theologians "diss" the Bishops, Priests "diss" the teachings of the Church and never speak about sin, death, Heaven
or Hell. People in the pews see all this and say, I guess I’m free to pick and choose what I want to believe. Dissidents have spawned dissidents. No surprise there. Fr. Richard John Neuhaus, the editor of First Things magazine says there are three things necessary to reform the Church, "Fidelity, Fidelity, Fidelity."
And the Lord says:
"I have searched among them for someone who could build a wall or stand in
the gap before me to keep me from destroying the land; but I found no one."
Corporate repentance, identificational repentance, associating and identifying yourself with the sins of the nation and the Church, is a foreign notion to
most Catholics. However it is a very strong biblical theme.
"If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven,
forgive their sins and heal their land."2 Chron 7:14
Daniel, a righteous man "stood in the gap" and interceded for his people. Nine times in Daniel chapter 9, Daniel prayed: WE have sinned, WE are rebellious, WE are shamefaced etc. Moses in Ex 32:32 prayed: "If you would only forgive their sin! If you will not then strike me out of the book that you have written."How’s that for standing in the gap! Paul prayed in Romans 9: "For I could wish that
I myself were accursed and separated from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my kinsmen, the Israelites." Paul, Daniel and Moses associated themselves with
the sins of their people and "stood in the gap" between God’s fiery wrath and their people.
Our condition in our Church and our country is so far gone, thatonly heartfelt, deep, corporate Church repentance could mediate to some degree our impending