Monday, January 16, 2012

King-dom.


Martin Luther King Jr. dreamed that his people would no longer be treated as second-class when compared to others. His inspirational life was focused on speaking for those who could not speak for themselves, calling all people to recognize our kinship as brothers and sisters.
Many years before, a similar message was written and spoken by the Paul, who seems to have been fighting a similar battle in different circumstances. He wrote in his first letter to the church in Thessalonica concerning the injustice the new Christians were facing from the Jewish people. In the book of Acts, we see Paul had many disputes with Jewish Christians concerning their belief that only Jews could be saved, making non-Jewish believers second-class in their eyes. Despite Jesus’ assertion that the kingdom was for all (Matthew 28), it still took a literal vision from God to convince Peter that the kingdom of God was for Jews AND everyone else. 
It seems like these types of struggles have been present for all of recorded history, when different groups of people do not accept each other and attempt to subvert the humanity of one another. Humans are by our nature relational beings who tend to form groups with many different purposes. Not surprisingly, we tend to prefer individuals who are in our groups over those who are not. It seems that conflict often arises when groups perceive some type of scarcity of resources between groups. For example, sports teams may have conflict because only one team may win.
In my opinion, many of the struggles with prejudice throughout the years are rooted in our misperception of scarcity and similarity. We somehow think that another group’s success may result in our failure, or another group’s power will require our submission. We also see certain groups as fundamentally different from ours, when it is likely that we are actually very similar.
On this day when the United States stops briefly to recognize the message of a great man, I think we need to search our hearts. We can ask ourselves; are we really in a power struggle between each other? Are we really so different? Jesus, Paul, and Martin Luther King Jr. spoke of a love that transcends our group boundaries, making us into one group, all brothers and sisters. Let your kingdom come...on earth as it is in heaven.

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