July 6, 2008 – Daniel 6
Daniel 6, the “lion’s den” story, is one of the most well known and well used – in Sunday School and through the ages. The sermon this coming Sunday will be focussed on just a couple of items from among many that could be gleaned from this text.
- The main issue is not “will Daniel get eaten by the lions”; the main question is “will Daniel pray to Darius”?
- I’m so struck that all these stories in Daniel 1-6 are about living faithfully in exile. Mainline Christians in North America have not been in exile, but I think we may be getting there, living in a culture that’s becoming increasingly strange and possibly hostile. Anyway, one of the points about Daniel praying not to Darius but to God while facing Jerusalem is that Daniel will not forget where he’s from. He will not be co-opted by exilic cultural values. He will wear Babylonian clothes and speak the Babylonian language, but when it comes to where the roots of life lie, Daniel refuses to forget that ‘this world is not my home’.
- Consequently, while I’m a patriot, it seems appropriate on this coming July 4 weekend to say that if we think we’re Christians because we’re Americans, we have it bass-ackward; if we think our political system guarantees our religious freedom, we have it bass-ackward. If we think we’re Americans first and Christians second, we’re cutting ourselves off from the only protection we have from human systems that are inevitably corrupt.