So, I got a little behind on my blogging while Rita’s been away. Playing catch up today so I can get back on the right track starting tomorrow:
What I read: Luke 19-21
Observations: Having just done some work on this section for a sermon in March, I have a pretty good feel for what seems to be happening here. This is the political and religious side of the Jesus movement coming into very sharp focus for about three chapters. Jesus’ ride into Jerusalem and then his discussions with the religious leaders that follow are all distinctly political AND distinctly religious in part because the two are tied together for the Jewish people at the time. The expectation for Messiah to come and deliver them from Rome was high. At the same time people were looking for a reformation of the religious systems because they had been so corrupted. Jesus challenges both the political and religious systems and points to a different way – the Kingdom of Heaven coming among them. Luke refers to their expectation in chapter 19 – they thought the Kingdom of God was coming immediately, but they don’t really understand what that means. It won’t mean a conquering King, but a crucified Messiah. It won’t mean a political revolution with some religious implications, but a complete revolution with both political and religious implications that they weren’t totally prepared for.
Application: I used to be really fascinated by politics, and then I became disenchanted with all of it. I’m trying really hard right now not to become so disillusioned with the American election process, but it is SO hard. The empty rhetoric and ridiculous campaigning taking place right now is so discouraging. But at the same time I feel Jesus’ call in these chapters to not disengage from the process, but to engage with it in a different way, from a different angle, and with a different set of hopes and expectations for it. I’m trying to really think through what it would look like to be politically engaged without placing all of my hope for change in politics and politicians, because that’s what so many Christians seem to be doing. Or they’re going the other way and just ignoring it and hoping it will all go away. So my application today is to work to stay engaged in the political process while still keeping the focus of my hope and attention on Jesus, because ultimately the hope for America and our world is found in him, and in his Kingdom, not the American democracy.
Prayer: Father I pray for our nation and its leaders. I pray for those running for office now. I pray for those who are listening to the speeches and watching the debates and getting frustrated like I am. But mostly I pray for the kind of revolution in my life, and in the lives of people around me that would have the kind of effect that Jesus and his disciples had on the world around them. I pray for the kind of revolution of the heart and soul that would change our perspective on our neighbors and would cause us to take care of them better, and be a more peacemaking kind of people, and the kind of people who hunger and thirst for righteousness and work for the joy of others. I pray that your Kingdom and its priorities would become ours.