Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Taking Responsibility

The Catholic Worker cofounder Peter Maurin said, "The future will be different if we make the present different." I like this quote because it reminds us that we, you and I, are responsible for the future. 

I say this with all seriousness. 

Of course, the Almighty is, moment by moment, somehow moving toward the implementation of his kingdom project, a project which began tangibly with the resurrection of the Christ. But this should not be taken to mean that we are exempt and sidelined as watchers. While, we do not bring in the kingdom -- this comes only by an act of grace -- we who name the name of that carpenter from Judea are certainly called to be contributors to his kingdom.

This means, among other things, that what we do in the here and now really matters. Said another way, to build our little kingdom while the rest of the world goes to hell is not only incredibly short-sighted, it’s also anti-gospel. Or, said still another way, to say we are not responsible for our part of the world because we are waiting for God to return so that he might dump the entire works completely misses the point of the cross and Jesus’ destruction of radical evil. For now, we share in the sufferings of the crucified one; for now we carry our cross daily; for now we follow in his steps. There is no triumph, not now, there is only brokenness and the last great enemy death, and our struggle with it. 

“Look at the fields,” says Jesus, “they are ripe unto harvest...but the laborers are few...” 

We must look at our field for it too is ripe for the message of the kingdom, ripe for the message that the king has arrived and offers new life and a new way to live. 

All this was brought home to me several days ago when G, a man to whom I had been ministering and someone freshly part of our church, was sharing how the new spiritual part of his life had had a profound effect on his behavior. I asked him how he was now getting on with a particular person who had truly wronged him. He told me he had spent the evening with him and there were no problems. 

“Do you think your involvement with the LORD and the church was part of this change in you?” I asked.

He thought for a second and said, “Yes. I used to carry grudges and I wouldn’t forget, but since I came here I’m tryin’ that forgiveness thing.”

So am I.