The people of God were worried. They saw suffering, hardship, and injustice all around them. They saw corruption from their country’s leaders and they didn’t know what to do. So they went to the leaders of their churches. What shall we do? they asked.
Nothing, said the church leaders. It would be against God to do anything your country leaders don’t like. After all, God has established those authorities.
The people of God were sad. Some of them did as they were told by their church leaders. They turned away from injustice and suffering. They did nothing.
Others, however, weren’t so sure about this. It seemed that they should protect those who were being cheated and oppressed, that they should treat vulnerable people with care and kindness, that they should cherish life, and not destroy it. Maybe the leaders had not understood the urgency. So they returned to their leaders, and explained what they could see and hear, what was going on all around them.
Do nothing, said the church leaders. It is not for you to go against civil authority. God has established them.
Many bowed their heads and obeyed. They closed their eyes and ears. They did nothing.
Some were still confused. What their leaders were telling them made no sense, and it did not seem to adhere to the rules they had always been told. Surely they were supposed to see that justice was done, give to the poor, restore sight to the blind, and protect the helpless. Surely they were supposed to stand up for all of those in need. Wasn’t that what loving others meant?
No, said their leaders. Loving others meant only that they should be told to believe. Loving others meant caring about the soul, not the body. Loving others was concerned with the next world and most definitely not this one.
More gave up to blind obedience. Still more walked away from God and man. And only a remnant remained.
And the remnant stood against the leaders. We must obey God before man, they said. You can’t go to our church if you do such things, said the leaders. So be it, said the remnant.
They took God out into the world. They fed the hungry, and they gave water to the thirsty. They welcomed strangers, and they clothed the naked. They nursed the sick, and they visited prisoners.
They stood for what was right, and they were truly the children of God.