Last weekend I was doing some surfing, trying to get some things done for work and I stumbled across a Philip Yancey article entitled God at Large from Christianity Today back in 2001. It might be old but it hit home as I read it. The subtitle of the article is a telling tale in itself, “A look around the globe reveals a God as big as we want him to be,” (I don’t know if I like this subtitle, but I don’t want to waist time on it.) but what got me was the term “divorced” that Yancey used in reference of the Czech Republic, but largely Denmark, in this article. In the article Yancey is attempting to communicate how God is moving across the Globe and doing that he uses descriptors like, “honeymoon”, “mature marriage”, and “divorced”. Here is what he had to say about Czech and Denmark:
Other nations have settled into a “divorced” phase. I also visited Denmark last year, a nation which vies with the Czech Republic as having the lowest rate of church attendance. Church steeples pierce the gray skies, but only tourists bother to go inside. No one could tell me a single place where I might find anything related to Denmark’s most famous Christian, SÃ¸ren Kierkegaard. In the national museum, a placard explained that the cross, formerly the religious symbol of Denmark, is now regarded as a cultural relic.
Yancey could not be any more correct. When the protestant elite lost the Battle of White Mountain, on November 8, 1620, the spiritual climate was forever changed here. See Czech, at least Bohemia, considered themselves protestant and the Habsburg dynasty was a Catholic dynasty that forced catholicism upon the Czechs. I’ve read that the population of Bohemia (western Czech) was cut in about half in 30 years after the lose at White Mountain. With this said, I think this could be where the “divorce” that Yancey spoke of happened between the Czech people and God, or religion for that matter. They viewed themselves as a Christian country, and what not and God left them hanging, in their minds. (Us Americans need to beware of the warnings throughout history when countries viewed themselves one way and things didn’t happen how they thought God should allow them to. God is God and his ways are higher even in defeat. Look at the crucifixion! Lose but God still won!)
I have hope though. Jesus can heal anything. Just as I have heard stories about divorced couples getting back together after Jesus transformed their hearts, I pray for the same would be true between this country and Jesus. It reminds me of Hosea 2:14-23, and causes me to pray this for this country:
14 â€œTherefore, behold, I will allure her,
and bring her into the wilderness,
and speak tenderly to her.
15 And there I will give her her vineyards
and make the Valley of Achor a door of hope.
And there she shall answer as in the days of her youth,
as at the time when she came out of the land of Egypt.
16 â€œAnd in that day, declares the Lord, you will call me â€˜My Husband,â€™ and no longer will you call me â€˜My Baal.â€™ 17 For I will remove the names of the Baals from her mouth, and they shall be remembered by name no more. 18 And I will make for them a covenant on that day with the beasts of the field, the birds of the heavens, and the creeping things of the ground. And I will abolish the bow, the sword, and war from the land, and I will make you lie down in safety. 19 And I will betroth you to me forever. I will betroth you to me in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love and in mercy. 20 I will betroth you to me in faithfulness. And you shall know the Lord.
21 â€œAnd in that day I will answer, declares the Lord,
I will answer the heavens,
and they shall answer the earth,
22 and the earth shall answer the grain, the wine, and the oil,
and they shall answer Jezreel,
23 and I will sow her for myself in the land.
And I will have mercy on No Mercy,
and I will say to Not My People, â€˜You are my peopleâ€™;
and he shall say, â€˜You are my God.â€™â€