Following up on Julie’s post from last week, I’ve been reading Samuel Torvend’s Daily Bread, Holy Meal (worth a read–accessible yet sophisticated, with study questions to boot!). Here is just a taste (pun intended) of the delights contained within.
If Jesus’ proclamation in word and deed pointed to God’s just and peaceful reign in human life and history, then might it not follow that his disciples are also called to serve the reign of God, albeit as discerned in Jesus of Nazareth? From this view, the function of the church is not to maintain itself but to serve the reign of God as revealed in Jesus of Nazareth. In a consumer culture such as North America, however, it is easy to imagine these days that the church’s purpose is to order its life around sustaining or “growing” churches rather than serving the reign of God’s justice and peace.
Torvend goes on,
But we have to ask: was Jesus executed because he wanted to “grow” a worldwide organization (or as some might say, a “gospel community”) or because his understanding of of the reign of God proved to be too troubling for those who claimed to “rule” or “reign” over his land and people?
How are we doing at living into Jesus’ vision of the reign of God?