CHRIST IN WINTER: Reflections on Faith and Life for the Years of Winter…
“The arc of history bends toward justice.” I like that phrase, and its sentiment, but there is little evidence that it is true. Indeed, there is a lot of evidence that it is not true. The same injustices are done over and over, howbeit with stronger weapons and more hypocritical reasoning, with violence and chicanery, to children and women and colored folks and poor folks.
So what about the contradiction involved in looking for the Kingdom of God if we’re not making any progress? Christians have praying for the Kingdom to come for a long time, and it seems at least as far off as it was 2000 years ago.
This is one place where the rapturites and the apocalypticists have it right. There will be no will of God done “on earth as it is in heaven” until Christ returns and puts an end to history in a final judgment, whether one interprets that as angels riding down on clouds or the sun exploding and burning up the whole shebang. They have it wrong in thinking they can predict when that will happen or that doing so has any importance. That is their particular version of original sin.
In teaching us to pray for the advent and presence of God’s kingdom, I think Jesus is talking about two different things. One is the kingdom to come, to come on the last day. The other is what C.H. Dodd called “realized eschatology,” the now kingdom.
The important thing for each of us is not to focus on the Coming Kingdom but to live in the Now Kingdom--to do the will of God, to live in the ways of Christ--who is the Word of God, the communication to us about what God wants. We have no control of the Coming Kingdom. We have real control of the Now Kingdom. Whenever and wherever I do the will of God, when I live in the way of Christ, the Kingdom is realized, the Kingdom is present, God’s will is done on earth as in heaven.
That is when the arc of history bends toward justice.
“The mills of the Gods grind slowly, but they grind exceeding fine.”