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Lent for Everyone
Mark Year B

...As the Nazi party was increasing its power in pre-war Germany, the great theologian Karl Barth, still at that stage teaching in Bonn, came into contact one day with one of the party officials. The policies that had made the Nazis popular at that stage included the claim that they were pulling the country back from the anarchy and chaos of earlier years to ‘law and order’, tidying up society as it were and bringing it into shape.

‘Don’t you think, Herr Barth,’ said the official, ‘that what we need today is the Ten Commandments?’

‘Yes,’ replied Barth. ‘Especially the first one.’

Barth saw through the pretence. The Nazis weren’t really interested in morality at all. They wanted to put up a front of legal rectitude behind which they would smuggle in all their own agendas, enforcing them on a population that was becoming used to behaving properly, to allowing lawful authority to go unchallenged. But at the head of the Ten Commandments is the one that puts everything on a different plane: ‘I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt.’ And if God is God, and if he claims our total and ultimate allegiance, then all the schemes and plots of the Nazis were called into question. Perhaps not surprisingly, Barth was soon forced out of Germany and went back to his native Switzerland...

Taken from Lent for Everyone Mark Year B by Tom Wright

Publisher: SPCK - view more
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