I have recently been reading Richard Rohr for a Christian Simplicity class I am in. What a blessing and privilege to “have to” read so many insightful, provocative, wise Christian thinkers!
There is so much in Rohr’s Eager to Love that I have found challenging and encouraging, but I just wanted to share one thing for now. In the chapter Living on the Edge of the Inside (so much to unpack just in that title) Rohr says “To pray and actually mean “thy kingdom come” we must also be able to say “my kingdom go.” At best most Christians split their loyalties between God and Caesar.” Yes! This resonates. But also . . . that’s hard . . . what do we do with it?
In order to truly seek and participate in the building of God’s kingdom we do have to release the ways in which our “kingdom” dominates our thoughts, efforts, resources etc. How?
Rohr offers this insight: “Today most of us try to find a personal and individual freedom even as we remain inside of structural boxes and an entire system of consumption that we are then unable or unwilling to critique. Our mortgages, luxuries, and chosen lifestyles control our whole future.”
Again, this rings true but is not only hard to hear but also somehow me to feel that nothing can be done. We do exist in a system that is in so many ways anathema to the kingdom of God. Our economic, social and cultural systems are not calibrated for mercy, for justice, for rest or for lament. To name just a few of the things that characterize God’s kingdom.
So what then? For me, as I process this reality. Possibly just a new way to name a long felt and occasionally acknowledged challenge, I am committing to being more intentional.
More intentional as I interact with systems of this world – committing to examine and consider how they work and who they work for and who they leave behind. More intentional as I enter into economic relationships with the things I buy – committing to ask who is helped and who is harmed. More intentional as I pray and meditate – committing to earnestly ask God for his kingdom come and my kingdom go and hearing that still small voice that leads to me more deeply desire this and to the ways I can bring it about. Obviously this mental and spiritual work is a step, but not the whole. It is necessary to pay attention and understand before we are able to make change.
What does it look like for you to seek God’s kingdom and let go of your own?