Faith in the Kingdom

3 06 2009

Not that anyone reads my blog, but, those who have stumbled upon it, my apologies for taking so long to add a post.

I thought I might share this, it’s something I wrote in a forum post on Beliefnet.com, I might as well also offer it here:

On a personal note, the now-and-yet-to-be kingdom means that right now there is a God active and working in the world. It means that there is a God whose faithfulness to people means that He is continually working, making and creating in me the kind of person that doesn’t just proclaim the kingdom, but lives there.

Because as I move and live and breathe in this world I am a faltering person who continually makes mistakes. As we all do. That He is relentless in His mercy, and unwavering in His devotion and infinite in His goodness toward me, that I can have the sort of confidence to live boldly. Not the sort of boldness with a chest puffed out, but the confident boldness to know that even as I may take two steps back, He won’t let me be out and about on my own. He won’t let or leave me be.

As someone who has often been let down by people, and who struggles to figure out my place in life and this world, to know that there is always ground beneath my feet, hands to catch me, and a God to hold onto me means there is always a tomorrow which I can wake up to.

And despite some people’s protestations, that’s exactly the sort of God I always read about in the writings of St. Paul. That there is this unrelenting love that refuses to abandon anyone, profound in every way, that can embrace and accept the worst of us, the least of us, and the smallest of us.

To discover the strength in weakness, light in darkness, hope in despair, wisdom in  foolishness, and grace in the most unforgiving corners of this world. That’s what it means to me to look upon the cross, and to understand the Man who died upon that cross–who I now call Lord and King. Not only of my own little Jon world, but even the entire world.

That the Crucified Man of Golgotha is truly Lord in whom all things subsist, that the powerful could not best Him, that death could not hold Him, neither could the grave contain Him, that where hate and murder and violence and wonton evil seems to prevail in fact does not. This is the kingdom of God. That a wreath of thorns would be the King’s true crown, and a crucifix His throne. That a coronation took place in open secret, a peculiar majesty shown through frail body and bloody brow.

That it is not the rich man who is lord, but the poor man. It is not the might of sword, nor thunder of chariots; it is not the cannon or the gun, the armies and their generals, it is not kings and potentates, or presidents and despots who are victorious. Neither nation nor empire, neither pomp or splendor, but rather the Man of Nazareth and those He represents who are the victors.

This is the kingdom of God.

That it is not wealth or fame or power that is true greatness. It is not the CEO in his lofty office who has success.

That all these temporal, empty, hollow things are void of substance.

Truly, He says, the prostitutes are reaching the kingdom ahead of us.

This requires a certain kind of faith, the kind of faith that already believes though it has not seen, like the centurion who had every confidence that the Lord merely said the word and His servant was healed.

But so few of us have it. Our confidence is found in the vain things of life, and we imagine success and greatness in things that will be consumed by moths and wind up as dust.

It is not our empires–whether political or otherwise–that shall endure. But love, mercy, forgiveness, kindness, joy, charity, and good will toward others. These things are real. Money, power, and empires are not real.

This is faith in the kingdom of God.

It is not in the things we see, but in the things we hope for.

I believe that Christ died, Christ is risen and Christ is coming again, and so I have hope in a world made in the image of Christ, where dead bones will walk again, where every sword will be made a plowshare and ever spear a pruning hook. A conviction for a kingdom where death has been put away and hell forgotten. Where neither mourning or sadness can be found, for in their stead a overflowing bounty of joy and laughter among all. For I believe this is the will of God. And so in that conviction of God’s tomorrow, I believe so strongly that I can step into this world of today in that unwavering truth.

I can lose my faith in guns and guillotines, and open myself up to world that is absent of both. A world filled with God.

This is the kingdom of God

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My Plastic Jesus

26 08 2008

Oh my plastic Jesus,
How I love you so,
You are so fake and sterile,
No punch, no pow, no go!

When I worship you,
I pose you as I will,
Karate chop the bad guys,
Send ’em all to hell.

You are my plastic Jesus,
My saving friend indeed,
My soul you send to heaven,
You’re everything I need.

You demand nothing from me,
You do everything I say,
Serving you is easy,
Cheap grace means no pay.

Oh you’re my plastic Jesus,
In my church of plastic smiles,
When hypocrisy is abounding,
I love how you keep silent.

The poor I can ignore,
And I can beat up on gays,
Because you’re my plastic Jesus,
Gee golly you’re A-OK!

Can thump a plastic Bible,
Every single day,
Carry you on Sunday,
Cheaply, you’ve washed my sins away.

You’re my plastic Jesus,
You mean everything to me,
As long as you’re my Jesus,
My life is mine to keep.