For our First Readings this week we take up the Book of Daniel. However, it loses some of its punch when we learn that it is fiction.
Our reading begins with telling us how Nebuchadnezzar in 597 B.C. conquered Jerusalem, carrying off some leading citizens to Babylon, with Daniel and three scholarly companions in that number.
The trouble is that this story was written in a language not in use in 597 B.C.. It was written as historical fiction in 167 B.C. Then, King Antiochus of Syria was trying to get Israel’s young men to eat pork, and to practices the worship of the Greek gods.
That matter was settled back twenty-one hundred years ago by the uprising of Judas Maccabeus Mightn’t we do well to face up to the problems our world faces now?
Like, yesterday I read the well-documented story of two Syrian college girl, Awa and Duia. They had been keen on Twitter, the Internet, and all the fashions; but all that ended when their town became the center of the new ISIS Caliphate.
The two young ladies had only one way for staying alive. It was for them to join the Morality Police. They accepted the husbands to whom ISIS awarded them. They helped rounding up women who showed skin and men who shaved their beards. They were forced to witness the public flogging of such offenders. Their lovely streets were littered with the unburied bodies of the offenders whose severed heads replaced the commercial signboards along the way. They had the job of driving to the Turkish boarder to pick up the silly English girls who come to join something exciting.
Using one such trip to the boarder, Awa and Dua slipped over to freedom. Now, though, they find no one on this side who remembers Jesus saying, “Come and possess the kingdom prepared for you, because I was a stranger, and you welcomed me.”