seeking shalom for all

When Israel of old was removed from the Promised Land in God’s judgment due to their sin, they were commanded to seek the peace, or shalom of the city in which they lived. I wonder what that might suggest of the renewed Israel of today, the church, scattered all over the earth. Is that thought a stretch?

Surely this would suggest that we be faithful first and foremost to our calling of living out, witnessing to, and proclaiming the good news of Jesus. There is an intrinsic tension in that good news of course, always for the world. The message of the cross is an offense and scandal to the world, while the message that Jesus is Lord over all trumps any such claim for Caesar.

While all that is true, I think followers of Jesus are called to live out in as wise a way as possible a kingdom message which is ultimately meant for the good of all, both people and entities, including government ones. In other words, while Jesus’ kingdom is not from this world, it is present for the world. Destined to take over at Jesus’ return, but for now in place in a different way, even with its parallels to earthly governments.

What this means for us in Jesus I’m not altogether sure. I don’t believe, myself, that Christians should take up arms in the military. But we seek the flourishing of all in terms of God’s kingdom come and will revealed in Jesus.

Therefore we’re not at all about overthrowing earthly governments so as to set up our own government as in some kind of theocracy. The theocracy present now is the church, and it lives in the Jesus way, as opposed to the way of the world.

And we surely do our best in seeking shalom for all, by seeking to be true to our calling in Jesus, in a community on God’s mission for the world. Being true to that wherever we may be placed, whatever our calling may be, like Daniel of old was for his time.

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