January 31, 2018
“When Kingdoms Collide”
Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Matthew 6:10
We live in two kingdoms. Sometimes they get along famously. Other times they collide with each other with great force. We live in them both and have the challenge of reconciling them with they are in conflict with each other.
What kingdoms are these? Long time Lutherans know them by various terms: The Kingdom of the Left, and the Kingdom of the Right, the Kingdom on Earth and the Kingdom of Heaven, The Secular and the Spiritual, the State and the Church. God rules over both and we live under Him in both. He ordains State to govern for the sake of order in this world. He ordains the Church to proclaim the Gospel of Christ with words of truth and acts of mercy.
We make decisions depending on our understanding of that kingdom applies. A current example is the question of immigration. This issue calls for law and order by the state. Loss of control of a nation’s border and undermining the rule of law creates chaos. It is the State’s God-ordained duty to maintain that. At the same time, it is the Church’s calling to show compassion and concern for the sojourner. Where we can do so while honoring the State’s necessary role as keeper of order, we do so. The Church should not do so in order to pad its coffers with government largesse, or to inflate its membership roles. Such motives do not serve the Gospel, but undermine it. We love for motives that are spiritual and heavenly, not secular and earthly.
It is an ongoing and timeless challenge of both the State and the Church to tend to its own business and not to usurp the role of the other. Of course, in real life, it is not as clear cut as all that. I mean this meditation not as solution to a problem, but as a reminder to remember that both Kingdoms are God’s. Pray that His will is done in both, for the sake of good order and peace, and for the sake of compassion and love.