Your kingdom come.
You will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven. (Matthew 6:10, NRSV)
I want you to do something for me. I’d like you to think about what comes to mind when you hear/read/see “the good life.” Go ahead and close your eyes. Picture yourself in the midst of that “good life,” a life where you, and all those around, you are flourishing. What does that look like?
For some of us, it might be lounging in a chair, sipping mai-tais, while you squish the white sand in-between your toes. For others, it might be hands on knees, trying to catch your breath, as you look out and gaze upon the magnificent vista of mountains before you. Then there are those who notice the goose bumps rise on their arms, the hair stand on the back of their neck, and the tears that well at the corners of their eyes, for the Habitat home owner is getting the keys to their new house after hundreds of hours of “sweat equity.”
We have a particular picture of what living the “good life” looks like. And what’s more is this picture is the aim of our actions. It is a sort of goal our life bends towards. It motivates most of what we do. Sometimes there are competing visions inside us of what this life would look like, but more often the most deep seated picture will win out.
I’ve been thinking about this for the past couple days in the wake of what happened at Charlottesville. In the aftermath of the egregious act of terrorism and the repugnant open displays of racism, I was left wondering what visions of the “good life” could bring those people to act in the way they did and plan to do.
Even more of a conundrum, at least for me, is when some of those who espouse to be “Alt-Right” confess to being Christian. The conundrum lies within the competing visions of what a “good life” looks like to the protestors and the Christ. I don’t know what the “good life” for a neo-Nazi might be, but for Christ, the “good life” is another term for the
Kingdom where the poor, the mourning, the meek, the hungry and thirsty, the merciful, the pure, and the peacemakers live in God’s presence (see Matthew 5:1-12.)
The Christian struggle is to not simply acknowledge Christ’s vision of the Kingdom as good and holy but to live out that picture of human flourishing. Our actions, and inactions, give away what we hold dear, what we believe to be true, what we value, what we love. Indeed, they give away what we worship.
The struggle is real y’all, but it is an endeavor worth embarking on. Let’s do it together.
May it be so this day.
(For more, see Smith, Desiring the Kingdom (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2009))