An Expositional Sermon
There’s an iconic picture of seven kids running into a field in Hazelton, Iowa on November 18, 1965.
It was 50 years ago from this coming Wednesday when school officials notified Amish parents that buses would pick their children up the following morning. An article from May in The Des Moines Register reads:
“[F]ile photos from that day show law enforcement and school officials trying to force students at Hickory Grove onto the bus. Sensor recalls hearing one of the Amish parents scream ‘lauf,’ which is ‘run’ in German. The children scattered and the school’s effort failed. Within days, the photograph of the children scrambling into the cornfield was plastered across national publications…Gov. Harold Hughes requested a moratorium on compulsory education for the Amish. More efforts to resolve the matter followed until the Iowa Legislature in 1967 passed a law exempting the Amish from compulsory education and school standards based on their religious affiliation.”1
I’m not trying to defend Amish theology, but in God’s providence at the 50 year anniversary of this we are considering what faithfulness looks like in the face of state powers in a different context; during the fall of Jerusalem to Babylon in 586 BC and of the exile of the youth to its educational and cultural institutions. Like Joseph (in Genesis) and Esther, Daniel is a picture of God using His people to further His kingdom and make His glory known in a foreign land. Exile and threat of persecution, or whatever, cannot stop God’s people from serving Yahweh, their king.