Thursday, April 16, 2009

A Spiritual Lesson from the 1929 Depression for the 2009 Recession

I'm studying Psalm 124 this week in preparation to preach on it this Sunday. One of the resources I'm using is a book called, Meditation in the Psalms by Erling C. Olsen written in 1939. As I was reading today, I came across an application he was making that spoke directly to the Great Depression that the world had just suffered through at the time of his writing. In light of what our country is going through financially some 70 years later, I found this surprisingly relevant. Here's what Olsen wrote...

A United Christian World

When the crash of our pyramided prosperity took place in 1929, the whole world was shaken like a reed. Since then, some voices have been heard suggesting that the collapse was inevitable, because of the materialism with which the people possessed, but now that materialism had broken into bits and was found to be but a vapor, men would return to the verities of God and spiritual things.

For a moment, it seemed that men had learned a lesson. But what do we see today? It is acknowledged by some that we have turned the corner and are well on the road to another period of prosperity. Have men ceased to be materialists? Have the nations learned the lesson of 1929? Indeed not. Then what? What can be the hope of this particular hour?

An item appeared on the front pages of our newspapers this past week which I read with interest. It directed attention to the call raised by one of the richest men in this world. That distinguished gentleman suggested that only a "united Christian world could stem the rising tide of materialism and selfishness, of broken traditions and crumbling moral standards and point the way out." He lamented the failure of the church visible, with its sects, still clinging to its denominationalism "in a drifting, disillusioned, discouraged world which sees in the church confusion rather than hope."

I wholeheartedly endorse the comments which that gentleman made, and I agree with him that the world is on the brink of disaster as its very foundations are being shaken. I agree with him that the only thing for the church today is to bear a united testimony, so that she might be a bulwark against the raging storm.

Interesting and relevant words for us today. President Obama said this week that he foresees a very difficult 2009. We're not yet out of the woods of this recession. So, it's very timely and necessary that we - the church - ask ourselves what role we should be playing for those who are on the financial ropes. What message should we give to a country that has been knocked off of its firm footing by these uncertain financial times? Will we be a bulwark of hope for the hurting people around us, or will we just add to their confusion and fear by displaying a lack of love, compassion, understanding and unity?


Mike Potter said...

From Facebook:

Very seems man always finds himself sooner or later in a place on his knees and figuring out when you find He's all you've got - you'll find He's all you need.

C.P., Dayton, OH

Sofija Burton said...
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