The kingdom of God. It’s about a here-and-now, and a still-to-come, kingdom. But you can’t divorce the kingdom from God, nor God from His kingdom. You can’t have one without the other.
The kingdom without God is a political or religious organization without the things God values: Love, compassion, and justice. And God without a kingdom is just a paper puppet, a velvet Jesus riding the clouds. God without a kingdom is a no-God, a homeless deity.
Jesus preached the kingdom of God on Earth, not a heavenly palace where fat cherubs feed fruit to contented Christians. Jesus died preaching against the religious and political forces of his time, forces which had lost (or never had) any semblance of justice, any likeness to God. Jesus preached a world where God was the King in His Kingdom of Earth. As followers of Christ and His Way, I think we’re supposed to help God establish His kingdom on Earth.
What would it be like if God really were the King of the earth?
- There would be no mourning; all would be comforted
- The world would be run by the meek, not the arrogant or prideful
- Righteousness would be paramount
- People would freely give and receive mercy
- Peace, not war, would be the normal state of affairs
So on the eve of Election Day in America, and with absolutely no political agenda, I want us to pause and think about our right to vote and how we exercise that right. Do we support a government which, like the Roman Empire thousands of years ago, is responsible for injustice at a systemic level? Do we conveniently ignore the parts of our political system which produce injustice? When we vote for someone do we first ask: Is this person prideful, or meek? Do they promote peace, or war? Are they merciful? Do they seek righteousness? Are they a source of mourning, or of comfort?
Don’t be distracted by the little letter next to a candidate’s name; that (D) or (R) means nothing. And I wouldn’t be overly concerned with where the person goes to church, or even if they go to church. Going to church has almost as little to do with the kingdom of God as a candidate’s political party.