“Sometimes we don’t need another chance to express how we feel or to ask someone to understand our situation. Sometimes we just need a firm kick in the pants. An unsmiling expectation that if we mean all these wonderful things we talk about and sing about, then lets see something to prove it.”
As a kid, I remmember going to the movies a watching great characters like Zorro, The Count of Monte Cristo, Luke Skywalker in ‘Star Wars’, and modern day comic heros like Batman and Superman. I would come running out of the theater in a full blown emotional high! Why? I don’t really know, but there was something about the ideal pursuit of truth and justice in a world which was full of oppression and so many disheartening erroneous wrongs. Does this sound familiar to anyone? Have you ever felt this way?
It always strikes me that the characters we are drawn to in films, books, and other entertainment that always fires us up looking for change or something different in the world around us usually, indicate something we desire in our own life. A deep hiden ambition maybe to make a difference in our own communities but we are to affraid or maybe feel to inadequate or “alone” to take the steps in actually doing anything about it.
It is true. Transforming the World around us seems like an impossible pursuit when we percieve it as being something we have to do all alone. But, if we take it into a smaller context; say a country, or a city, or even just your local community; then we can really grasp it as a personal mission and most likely there would be others who could join with you in developing its outcome.
Jesus says in Luke 10:2, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few.” Typically we have interpreted the harvest as being those who are not “inside” the church but what if that is not what Jesus meant? Jesus himself took the harvesters (the disciples) outside of the church (the temple) and put them to work according to the needs that the people had. In this same passage Jesus tells them “pray earnestly”, “Go your way”, “carry no baggage”, “speak peace be with you” to others, “remain” and “eat and drink” with others in the household, “heal the sick”, and most of all tell and show them that “the Kingdom of God is near”. This seems more like a picture of pursuing social and communal justice for all the people of the community.
It seems apparent that Jesus himself modeled this idea that transforming the world starts by the actions of one individual. If we are following him, we will find ourselves called in the same way in that we each can and should pursue the transformation of our own communities for its better reflection of God’s Kingdom.
So, “What does God’s Kingdom look like?” If we truly believe that Jesus is in our inner most core and his Holy Spirit is really directing and guiding our thoughts, passions, and emotions; perhaps it returns to that earlier question of why we feel such an emotional high when we come out of a really good movie. When you concider the heros you had in your youth, or even the heros you have today; when you see your community or your city acting inappropriately or not acting when they should, and your blood presure goes through the roof; what is it that you think Christ would do differently? Then, what is it you think you can do to change it? Perhaps, there is a good place to begin the pursuit of transformation.
“Jesus evidently felt deeply the emptiness and futility of much… religious talk. He was interested only in those emotions and professions which could get themselves translated into character and action. Words have always been the bane of religion as well as its vehicle. Religious emotion has enormous motive force, but it is the easiest thing in the world for it to sizzle away in high professions and wordy prayers . In that case, it is a substitute and counterfeit, and a damage to the Reign of God among men.”