Being the church at the end of the world Part II--While the sun still shines
Week 8, Day 5 (Part II)
Your kingdom come your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Matthew 6.10
Not everything is broken. That’s the good news and it is news we need to remember and celebrate. Despite humankind’s determined efforts to undo everything, God’s Creation is still a place of surpassing beauty, stunning abundance and remarkable resilience. And what St. Paul said long ago is still true: “Ever since the creation of the world God’s eternal power and divine nature, invisible though they are, have been understood and seen through the things God has made." Romans 1:20
The fight to preserve what remains and to recover what we can of what has been lost will be an uphill slog. Much more will probably be lost. It is even possible that everything will be lost—a most unpleasant thought. The truth is, though, it is now within the reach of humanity’s “de-creative” power to render our planet uninhabitable. This could be the strange fruit of the current conversation between our inept leaders in Washington and North Korea—two men with small hearts and large nuclear buttons could destroy everything.
But here’s the thing to keep in mind, that can keep us praying and moving forward. When Jesus told his followers to pray for God’s will to be done on earth as it was in heaven, it was because God’s will was not being done on earth as it was in heaven. The Roman empire ruled the world then much as modern empires do today. They lacked our destructive power, perhaps, but not our conquering will. They were the people St John called “the destroyers of the earth” (Revelation 11.18).
Yet it was in this setting where Jesus urged his poor, powerless disciples to pray, and to pronounce in their prayer what he taught them to be true: that God alone is holy (and therefore Rome is not); that this world is part of God’s kingdom (and therefore does not belong to Rome); that God’s will (not Caesar’s) was to be the standard by which we will live; that the equity, generosity and grace of heaven was to be the model for our lives and societies on earth. “Your kingdom come your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven”.
Not everything is broken—yet. Our world is a beautiful, abundant home—for now. So while we still can, while we still have breath, as long as the world continues, we pray and we work and we mold our lives and our families and our communities and our church according to God’s will—on earth as in heaven. It wasn’t easy then. It isn’t easy now. We do it anyway.
This is the hard thing the Body of Christ is called to; what we were created to do. To pray, and to work—not for ease, but for equity. Not for wealth, but for wonder. Not to be rich, but to be generous. To nourish, not to annihilate. To preserve Creation, and not to use it up. “To be the neighborhood of shalom (peace), the neighborhood of shared resources, of inclusive politics, of random acts of hospitality and intentional acts of justice…(and) to depart from the self-indulgent consumerism that devours creation.” (Walter Brueggemann, A Way Other than Our Own, pg 4,5).
Prayer: “Self-giving God, call us to walk the road of newness—a new self, a new society, a new world, one neighbor at a time. May we have traveling mercies this Lenten season. Amen.” (Brueggemann, pg 5)