The Apostle Paul’s discussion of the dynamics of his gospel ministry in relation to the Thessalonian Christians offers us arresting images for considering the reality of the truth and the bonds of trust by which societies are formed and held together.
The prophetic parables of the vineyard afford their hearers an illuminating vantage point upon the intergenerational peoplehood and unified moral agency of a nation. They offer us a new way of perceiving our national selves beyond the stifling frame of secularism.
King Solomon’s desire for wisdom to equip him for just rule establishes him as the paradigm of the Wisdom tradition and as an example for us to follow. The scriptural emphasis upon wisdom in rule may contrast strongly with contemporary emphases upon technique.
Psalm 8’s presentation of human dominion and politics as a creation of God has significant ramifications for our posture towards the various forms of human rule and authority. The juxtaposition of divinely appointed power and human weakness humbles arrogant ambition, encouraging a spirit of meekness and modest service in our politics.
Christian political witness must be built around and declare Christ as the great eschatological stone laid by God. He must either be approached as the stubborn obstacle, arresting the development of all idolatrous political visions, or as the chief cornerstone, the sure and solid basis from all else can take its bearings.
The call and blessing of Abram in Genesis 12 is the beginning of a thematic thread that is developed over the rest of the scriptural witness. As the heirs of Abram, we are both the recipients and the bearers of his promised blessing to the nations.
In taking of the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve attempt to gain rule before they are ready to exercise it. Their example may be a cautionary one for a church that too precipitously throws itself into the political arena.
A competent sentinel must be vigilant, alert to and able to read the faintest signs upon a distant horizon, perceiving the most miniscule of details and discerning their greater import when they finally appear. In the opening chapters of both Matthew and Luke, we encounter a series of watchers and signs, presented in part as examples to the readers of the gospels in their own watching.
The Parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector is situated against the backdrop of the promise of the coming kingdom and the vindication of the righteous that will come with it. We too can look for future vindication and Jesus’ parable may speak to our own convictions about being on the ‘right side of history’.
As in the case of the unjust steward in Luke 16, a radical change in our handling of money is required, if we are to survive the great day of accounting that is to come. We must use the limited time and opportunity remaining to us to escape the clutches of our greed and expend our dirty money to pursue true and incorruptible riches.