Friday, October 30, 2009

Reconciling - All People and All Things

Here's my contribution to the daily email that Grace is doing as part of the Beyond series.
"I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone - for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all men-the testimony given in its proper time."
1 Timothy 2:1-6

God's dream is certainly the redemption of all people, but maybe His dream includes more. This isn't necessarily rocket science. God wants every person to be reconciled with Him. The redemption of every person is at the heart of who God is. Past, present, future, He has not forgotten about anyone. It's reassuring for us isn't it? Not to mention, the confidence booster of knowing that our god isn't some sort of deity who decides based on behavior or achievement.

But there is one thing in the passage that is intriguing - why are we asked to pray specifically for those "in authority"? Could those in authority have something else to do with God's dream of every person? Are we missing something? Paul is imploring us to pray for those in charge - the judges, teachers, bosses, government officials. Perhaps God knows that they have sweeping impact. Their decisions empower or oppress, free or hinder, create great environments or create hell on earth. Families, teams, corporations, communities - values are influenced by those in authority, at least at the start.

Maybe God is also interested in the reconciliation of structures and systems. A team, a corporation, a type of government. A relationship, a community, a culture. Sure, maybe not foremost, but maybe this is part of what Paul means in Colossians when he mentions Jesus wanting to "reconcile to himself all things." When we ponder the large issues facing humanity today, issues like global poverty, the AIDS crisis, modern day slavery - we've got to be concerned with the individuals certainly. But solving many of these problems require a multi-faceted view of both the individuals and the structures that coalesce to bring humanity to it's knees. Solving global poverty must involve feeding people as well as food delivery systems. Freeing modern day slaves often requires solving issues of local government and law enforcement corruption as well as follow up with released slaves. Seemingly tangential, could those systems also point to redemption? I think yes.

I think God's dream for all of humanity includes every person - people are great illustrations for reconciliation. But the redemption of all things - now that is a God sized dream.

For reflection:
Look up the term "redemptive analogy."
Could there be a story in your background that is one?
What structures or systems helped model reconciliation?

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