Saturday, September 22, 2007

Power and the Reign of God

A few random reflections prompted by praying in front of the White House ...
The reign of God announces a profoundly different kind of kingdom, not so much about power as it is about covenant fidelity – about steadfast faithfulness, about a Godly power that is concerned not with the acquisition of more power but, instead, concerned first and foremost precisely about the condition of those with no power. Imagine our rulers putting such concerns first – imagine Republicans and Democrats concerned not with who controls the Senate but with how the hungry are to be fed, not with who will win the White House but with how the sick are to be cared for, not with the culture wars of Red and Blue but with how a just and lasting peace can be constructed. This is not to say that there are no important differences between the parties, but it is to call deeply into question their quite similar, and similarly idolatrous, relationships to the question of power.
When, for instance, the psalms sing kingdom praises, they recall also the nature of God and of God’s power, telling us that this God “keeps faith for ever, executes justice for the oppressed, gives food to the hungry, sets the prisoners free, opens the eyes of the blind, lifts up those who are bowed down, loves the righteous, watches over the strangers, and upholds the orphan and the widow.”
We are called into relationship with this God. We are called to trust this God before any princes and rulers, any Democrat or Republican, and even and especially against the lure of so many socially constructed idols: militarism, consumerism and every other “ism” that tempts us to put our trust in something less than ultimate, something other than God. And we are called to put first in our lives the same concerns as this God puts first – precisely the concerns that all the false gods ignore or belittle: justice, welcome of strangers, compassion for the outcast and marginalized, shalom for all creation.
It's a different kind of commonwealth that governs the beloved community.

No comments: