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Monday, February 28, 2011

Don't Worry about the wrong stuff

Yesterday's Gospel, from Matthew, quotes Jesus: Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you. This is a text I have embraced since the 1970's. As a young semanarian I had very little. The seven years of seminary, aged 21 to 28, I had no car, very little income, no savings. I also did not worry. My spirituality made it easier as I did not embrace wealth. I literally sought the kingdom above all else (Through my Sinfulness, of course!). Not so simple today. Now I find my concerns for the kids make it a bit more of a challenge. I still seek the kingdom, but there is more me in the equation. Jesus no doubt understands. He, above anyone, knows how context determines so much in our spiritual life. There are times when I hear wealthy Christians talk about trusting God and I just want to say "really?" Maybe I am just projecting, but it seems that our faith appears greater than it is in times of abundance.

Still, I think the focus on God's Kingdom is the key. Why did Jesus say it is hard for a "rich" man (i.e. a typical middle class person in our culture) to enter the kingdom. WE already know, we spend so much time trying to protect what we have and to get more. It is not even a choice, sometimes, we do it unconsciously.

So as I ponder things like worry and trust, being an optimist or a pessimist; I know that all of those are seconday issues. The core issue is "will God rule"? Right now, I think, His rule is incomplete. Today we live in an empire run by rivals to the Lord. I think they have free reign to do much damage. I think "darkness" is very present in the world (inside my heart, as well!). But those who seek the rule of God, those who hunger for the reign of King Jesus, are not conformed by the world. They have different priorities.

Lastly, seeking the Kingdom is much broader and deeper than getting saved. The Kingdom is not, simply, about getting your "get into heaven" ticket. It is an ethic which is personal and global, it is spiritual but earthly. The Lord will reign on this earth in the end. Our task is to make it more inhabitable, to the extent we can, today. Peace to all those who seek the kingdom, they are God's children

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