Saturday, September 16, 2023

The Simple Kingdom: Reversing the Curse

 There 's a lovely song that captures my new series of blogs.  It's called "Simple Kingdom."

Your Kingdom is simple, as simple as love, You welcome the children, You stop for the one.
We wanna see people the way Jesus does; Your Kingdom is simple, Lord, teach it to us.

Your Kingdom is humble, as humble as death, this King is a Savior who gave His last breath.
So we may die daily, our pride laid to rest, His Kingdom is humble, and the broken are blessed. 

Hallelujah, hallowed be Your name!  May we live and breathe Your praise!
And hallelujah, let all creation sing!  Oh, the King of Heaven reigns!

Your Kingdom is coming, Your Kingdom is here, alive in our waiting, our work and our tears.
So come to us quickly, forever our prayer; Your Kingdom is coming, Lord Jesus, come near.

Your Kingdom is backwards, it flows in reverse; what You call a treasure, this world calls a curse.
The small become great and the last become first, Your Kingdom is backwards
Lord, teach us to serve; as it is in Your Kingdom, let it be in Your church.

What is especially impactful is the last stanza, where it talks about reversals--how Jesus' death upon a cross with all of its shame and horror becomes a symbol of life, resurrection and freedom from sin.  The last in the Kingdom do become first.  God has not ignored the cries of the poor, the lost and the oppressed.  Jesus inaugurated His ministry with these words from Isaiah:

The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor. (Luke 4:18-19)

Who needs the good news the most?  Those who the world says are of no value, or who have caused their own problems and deserve the consequences.  

Who needs to be free the most?  Those who are imprisoned by their choices and habits, and those who think a cell is the only thing they deserve in life.

Who needs to see the most?  Those whose eyes cannot see themselves as part of God's household.

Who needs to be set free the most?  Those who the world's system holds back, either with a denial of opportunity or of their personhood.

Who needs to enter into the year of God's love and saving touch upon our hearts?  All of us. 

C.S. Lewis equated Jesus's arrival into this world as an invasion:

“Why is God landing in this enemy-occupied world in disguise and starting a sort of secret society to undermine the devil? Why is He not landing in force, invading it? Is it that He is not strong enough? Well, Christians think He is going to land in force; we do not know when. But we can guess why He is delaying. He wants to give us the chance of joining His side freely. I do not suppose you and I would have though much of a Frenchman who waited till the Allies were marching into Germany and then announced he was on our side. God will invade."

I love the connection to D-Day.  The Allies land on the shores of France on June 6, 1944 to retake Europe out of the grip of evil.  

Jesus came to earth to retake earth out of the grip of evil.  

What if the Allies showed up and said to the Nazis, "You guys are doing some awful things.  You need to stop it.  Close down those camps and stop fighting.  Have a nice day!"  Then the Allies left.

No.  The evil in Europe was systemic, with its governments, resources and people all dedicated to one thing:  the takeover of the world and the annihilation of those who were deemed useless.  The Allies had to come in and fight each and every stronghold held by the Nazis and liberate those held captive in camp after camp, until not one was left operational, and the Nazis were defeated.

For years afterwards, the Allies sought to remove Nazism out of the population by reeducating them.  They needed to reframe their view of the world through the lens of freedom and democracy.  

Do you see my point?  Invasion was only the first step.  Fighting ensue so the war would cease.  The system that propagated the evil had to be dismantled and people had to be reformed, otherwise the removal of Nazism from Europe would have not succeeded.

Jesus invaded here by leaving the courts of heaven and landing on the shores of earth, ready to reverse the values of a fallen system to ones of His kingdom--the Kingdom of God, not a rubber-stamping of the kingdom already here.  He redeemed our hearts so the system of evil could be dismantled: one saved follower at a time.  

Only the return of Christ will inaugurate a complete restoration of this planet, but in the meantime, we as His followers have plenty of work to do. 

That is what I intend to explore here:  How the Kingdom of God is an utter reversal of what this world advocates.

Join me.

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