Sin, in ways small and large, continually knocks us down and by the grace of God we, with the struggle and blessing of repentance, get back up every day and sometimes minute by minute. For the Christian there will be one last day when this happens, the day when we die and sin has it’s last hurrah with us, flattening us with one final blow. Then, for a while, we stay down but when we, by the grace of God, get back up again it will be forever and there will be no more stumbling, falling, or collapse. In a weary and tiring world the knowledge of this is an enduring hope.
not the Republican, the Democrat, Libertarian, Communist, or any of them. None of them will completely capture the fullness of Christianity.
You see, if you choose to be an observant Christian, you are, in fact, a kind of monarchist. Now it’s not the monarchy of say the British royals with all the uniforms, fancy cars, and shopping mall openings. That, like all the other pomp and circumstances that come with the kingdoms of this world, is just that, a spectacle for the sake of power, a pseudo liturgy for the kingdoms of this world.
No, you’ve chosen to ally yourself with Jesus, to make him a king not like the world makes kings but rather for the sake of love. He invites you to belong to a Kingdom, to be citizens, not simply of a nation that may or may not be here with the tides of history, but of eternity where the things we humans seek are found not with endless bureaucracies but simply in His presence.
This Kingdom, for the observant Christian, becomes, out of love, the first loyalty, the true nation, and the ultimate destination of the world. It’s precepts live within us in this world but come from beyond it and stand in critique of every other human attempt to organize ourselves, even those which are seen as just.
That doesn’t mean we don’t “taint” ourselves with the affairs of this world or absent ourselves from its workings. What we have to offer as followers of Christ is valuable for the common good and often is the only sanity in the crazy swirl of things. We give allegiances, honor human authority, and seek the best for the places in which we find ourselves along our journey.
Yet it’s not ultimate loyalty, not ultimate involvement. No country, no politician, no political party, owns our soul. None deserves our ultimate allegiance. We can and should be good citizens but we know that we belong to something more, a Kingdom where the humble and often maligned Christ already rules, a Kingdom that is destined to be the ultimate reality of the universe as we know it.
It’s that Kingdom which comes first, last and always, and everything less, no matter how good it can be, is still just that, less.
here in Minnesota the past week. The clouds have prevailed this week and there’s even a bit of fog floating down the street in front of my house.
Around here whenever it rains or snows, even when its a deluge, we always seem to say “We could use the moisture.” Part of it, I think, is that Scandinavian stoicism that has bled into the larger culture. Part of it, too, is that many of us are one, maybe two, generations off the farm. We still thinking like farmers even when we live in the suburbs. We must have space. We must have green living things around us. We still look to the sky with knowing eyes to determine the weather.
It’s the price we pay, I suppose, for living on this land. There is a harshness to it, extremes of one sort or another. Yet there is a life to be made if you know how to do it and have the will to flow with the changes. The whole world around you is always vivid with color. White as white can be in winter. Green that Saint Patrick would envy in spring and summer. Fall is when everything explodes in colors from yellow to brown. If you learn how to live in this place you can be alive in ways that are never possible stacked on top of each other in a far away eastern big city.
So for now we wait. We could use some sun. We would prefer it if you actually got our honest response. Until it comes, though, we can still use the moisture.
People, myself included, often wonder what God would be having them to in this life. There’s at least one answer, Matthew 25. It seems that all the things listed there are what Christians should be about, the default mode if you will for how we should be using our time. Do those things and your life will stand the test, it will be a life well lived according to the only One whose opinion really matters.
“Try to fill your soul with Christ so as not to have it empty. Your soul is like a cistern full of water. If you channel the water to the flowers, that is, to the virtues, you will experience true joy and all the thorns of evil will wither away. But if you channel the water to the weeds, these will grow and choke you and all the flowers will wither.”