What's the reign of God?
It seems we have different ideas about the "reign of God" that Stuart first mentioned. Andrew has a firm idea about what it meant for first century church, but the issue of relevance demands that we ask what does it mean for us? now? (Even if we place it historically in the first century it must have some bearing on our current place in the story.)
Unfortunately I don’t have time to put together more than a few scraps of thought…
1. The reign of God is not political. Mention of Bush’s regeime has already been made. As someone who would probably not agree with his government on most issues, I’m glad that God isn’t going to crush me.
2. The reign of God supercedes political affiliation. I quote Philip Yancey:
3. The reign of God is to be understood both then, now and forevermore in terms of individual lives and (more importantly) our communities. It is in place wherever these structures line up with God’s explicit or general will. ("Your kingdom come…")
4. Following the reference to the Lord’s prayer, the reign of God is apocalyptic and current.
5. I don’t believe that the reign of God going to be fully manifest anytime soon. It is outworked as we re-present Christ (the idea of "ambassadors" reflects the idea of a reign) in the world. With any luck Christ-likeness will be continued and continue to grow throughout the evolution of mankind.
Sorry for the brevity and incompleteness. I wish I had as much time to write as some people!
ADDITION: To explain my mention of the LP, let me quote again. This time from everyone’s favourite, Mr Wright in “The Lord and His Prayer”:
“‘Heaven’ and ‘earth’ are the two interlocking arenas of God’s good world. Heaven is God’s space, where God’s writ runs and God’s future purposes are waiting in the wings. Earth is our world, our space. Think of the vision at the end of Revelation. It isn’t about humans being snatched up from earth to heaven. The holy city, new Jerusalem, comes down from heaven to earth. God’s space and ours are finally married, intergrated at last. That’s what we pray for when we pray ‘thy Kingdom come’.” (Wright, 24)