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Pilgrimage to Zion

August 30th, 2010 by isaac · No Comments

Below is an excerpt from my sermon this past Sunday. I used four Psalms to think through some of the stories I heard while visiting Salem-Zion Mennonite Church in Freeman, South Dakota.

Sometime in 1918, Joseph and Michael Hofer were arrested for refusing to serve in the military. Because they did not cooperate with the draft, the brothers were imprisoned at Alcatraz in California. While in prison they were commanded to wear military uniforms, but they refused. So they were thrown into the Alcatraz dungeon and starved nearly to death. The officials transferred Michael and Joseph to the army camp in Leavenworth, Kansas, where they finally died of starvation. Before they sent the Hofers’ bodies home for burial, the army officials dressed Joseph and Michael in military uniforms. When the caskets arrived in South Dakota, the community opened them and saw the dead bodies of their boys dressed for combat.

“O daughter of Babylon, you devastator! Blessed shall they be who pay you back for what you have done to us!” (Ps 137:8). I can imagine those words coming from Hofer family as they looked at their dead sons.

For the rest of it, follow this link to the church website: Pilgrimage to Zion

Tags: sermons