The Government Shall Be Upon His Shoulders
"The story the gospels tell is not whistling in the dark. It’s about this child growing up and starting to put God’s kingdom into operation, close up, wherever he goes. This is what it looks like, he says, when God is running things. The world gets turned the right way up. Watch, in the gospels, as the Wonderful Counsellor goes to work, dealing with individuals but also confronting the systems which had enslaved them, and upsetting the slavemasters. Watch as the Mighty God strides through Galilee feeding the hungry, healing the sick, rescuing people and restoring creation itself. Look on in awe as the Everlasting Father is seen mirrored in the incarnate Son, giving himself totally to his beloved world. And, if you dare in the light of our culture where war, the way of death, is the way of life for so many, watch as Jesus, from his earliest beginnings with a price on his head through to his riding the donkey into Jerusalem, shows what it looks like when the Prince of Peace is on the move. He comes to get God’s kingdom off the ground – or perhaps we should say, precisely on to the ground, the real life of real people. And that involves taking upon himself the full force of the world’s cruel systems, the political and economic enslavement from which we still suffer, so that the power of evil can be broken and something new may take its place. That was true at Jesus’ birth, as it was true at his death. This is what the alternative looks like. Some mock it as if it were irrelevant, but the truth is that it is all too relevant, a rumour of hope that the powers of the world do their best to hush up."