In calling for Christ’s kingdom, we do not call for Christ to dominate over and against the world. Rather, his kingdom brings transformation of the world, so that the world corresponds with God’s justice and grace, enabling creation’s arrival at its fullest selfhood.
God’s peace is a peace founded on life, rather than death. On relationship, rather than enmity. On engaging in and accepting mutual hospitality, rather than building walls of division.
Spectacle has always played an important role in establishing power, authority, and sovereignty. In the unity of the dazzling body of the Transfiguration and the brutalized body of the crucifixion, the integrity of the spectacle and that which lies beneath is made known and our own polities’ lack of such integrity is challenged.
Return now to the martyrs who met for Bible study at Emanuel Church on the evening of June 17th. They teach us very many things, and also many more than I can know. Still, I want to say here that, by their faithful practice, they too illumine the meaning of the Parable of the Sower, and that they do so by indicating what it means to be good and fertile ground.
Jesus’ healings are not just random acts of charity on the way to the cross but are integral to the very point that his death and resurrection make: that God’s intention in this world is human well-being and life, even in the face of death. This presents a challenge to empires.
In 1 Corinthians 7:29-31, Paul articulates the reality of eschatological imminence. Against this background, he advances an ethic that maintains a delicate balance between occupation with and preoccupation with our present world order.
The Apostle Peter calls for the virtues of patience and peace in our waiting for the eschaton. At face value, these virtues might appear more congruent with an apolitical complacency. However, closer reflection reveals that they involve both the work of bringing peace and commitment to works of anticipation.