Stewards of the World
The relationship between the church and the world is a mutually prophetic relationship, which is a way of saying that each is sometimes prompted by God to call the other back to the covenant, or to the righteousness of God.
Sometimes we act as if the world is fraught with dangers that will lead us astray, while the church embodies the best of the human condition. The problem with that assumption is that the Spirit of God is as present in the world as in the church, and those of us who know and love the church also know that the church is not free from sin. I think it was that cultural icon, Ann Landers, who once said the church is a hospital for sinners, not a monument to saints. So, sometimes it is the church that calls the society to new understandings of the principles that bind us together in community, and sometimes it is the world that reminds the church of the fundamentals of our faith, and moves us to a deeper and more faithful response.
In today’s climate, we would do well to remind ourselves that political actions and political passivity have moral consequences. God made us stewards of the world in which we live. The indictments of the prophets are directed against the elites who were responsible for creating the structures of domination and exploitation. The Bible is very clear that God loathes injustice and violence, and calls us to do something about it. And that “something” is political as well as personal. Our faith, and our recognition of God’s sovereignty, is reflected in the way we organize our public life.
Faithful Christians may have different ideas about which challenges should be given priority, or how to go about it. What people of faith cannot do is nothing. We cannot pretend it is someone else’s problem. God put the whole world into our care. And sometimes it means we have to act politically as well as personally.
Carol Cole Flanagan
Appointed readings for today: Isaiah 65:17-25, Psalm 30:1-6, 11-13, John 4:43-54