Thursday, 23 April 2009

Thy kingdom come

“What frightens and frees us simultaneously about this new and alien kingdom of God which Jesus preached and told of is the simple fact that it is God’s and not our own. That is a dark menace to the complacency and contentment of those who flourish under the kingdoms of this world; a shining vision of release and new beginnings to the victims of the present order; and perhaps also a mocking rebuke to the programs, projects, and pride of those who hope to create a new order by themselves. It is tragic, therefore, that a gospel which promises justice, love and peace only by insisting that these are God’s own gifts, which remain alien, foolish, and impossible except for grace alone, has continually been misconstrued and misappropriated as the goal and burden of human and Christian aspiration. Piously, or politically, we cripple ourselves with the need to bring about God’s righteousness on earth, failing to hear what Jesus so vividly declares: that we need not shoulder that burden because the goal itself does not need to be accomplished. The goal is a fact, God’s fact, the fact of grace and promise. No gap divides what God says from what God does.”

—Alan E. Lewis, Between Cross and Resurrection: A Theology of Holy Saturday (Eerdmans 2001), 23.

9 Comments:

Spencer said...

Interesting section. Is this quote to be taken literally? If so, what is our "shining release?" Are we freed from pursuing justice for brothers and sisters who are living in need, furthermore, silencing the pleas of desperation with soft words? Maybe Lewis' point is to affirm a "theology of hope," albeit lacking the reality of injustice and our calling as a community of love.

"To believe in God is easy; but to believe that the world will become different - to do that one must be faithful unto death."
-Christoph Blumhardt

Burk Braun said...

What complete and utter BS. Did the kingdom come when Jesus expected it? Now way, no how. Will it ever come? No way, no how. I am glad that you are not for earthly encouragement of the apocalypse, but persevering in wishful daydreaming is still a disservice to your world and to your intellect.

nate kerr said...

Spencer:

Do you have a reference for that Blumhardt quote? I'd appreciate it if you do.

Spencer said...

Nate:

Vernard Eller, "Thy Kingdom Come: A Blumhardt Reader" (Eerdmans 1980), 5.

good stuff. also see...

R. Lejeune, "Christoph Blumhardt and His Message" (Lansing-Broas 1963)

Erin said...

I confess my first thought was, "Is Lewis white?"

Bob said...

Even the Son of Man did not know the day or the hour...but if only we had his daytimer we could have told him.

I don't read Lewis as endorsing quietism but challenging the assumption that our freedom rivals God's.

Halden said...

Erin, if you read the book, Lewis's concluding chapters, on "The Politics of Holy Saturday" should allay the fears that (I assume) are behind your wondering.

T. Thomas said...

Always dangerous to lift a quote--even one of this length--out of its broader context. Nevertheless, this book is well worth the read. To the extent that we take Jesus' words seriously--'the kingdom of God is among you'--is the extent to which Lewis is indeed correct, and provides a foundation from which to both work and pray, ala the Lord's prayer, for God's kingdom to come.

Brian Lugioyo said...

I just read this book for the first time over Lent; brilliant!

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