Any time someone brings up the petitions in the Lord’s prayer that concern God’s kingdom coming and God’s will being realized faces the inevitable: What does the Lord’s Prayer say about political power and global issues? In chp 4 of Telford Work’s book, Ain’t Too Proud to Beg, Telford starts in the direction of “your will be done” and instead we get a detour — a detour that deconstructs the church’s strategies in wielding power.
Our next book will be Edith Humphrey, Ecstasy and Intimacy. It is a book about the Holy Spirit and the Christian life.
I believe it is impossible to read the Bible and to be quiet about politics. How can we read the prophets or Jesus and not think of political powers? The issue is how we engage the powers. The problem is how to avoid scuffles in doing so. Is there a way forward? What are your suggestions for engaging politics in the context of our communities of faith?
Well, back to Telford’s book. He uses Walter Russell Mead’s book called Special Providence to expound how the church has become complicit as businesslike Hamiltonians, missionary Wilsonians, protective Jeffersonians, and tribal Jacksonians. It would be too much to find a way to reduce all of this to manageable little chunks — his discussions are lengthy — but he sums them up in “self-” terms on p 102: “Yet each of these political visions centers on the self — self-advancement, self-realization, self-protection, and self-assertion.”
Thus, “Constantine is not the villain; we are” (103).
So, what is the alternative to complicity and villainy? To do God’s will. What is God’s will?
Here Telford has a theory I’ve not seen but which, the more I read it, got me to thinking. Here it is: “The will of the Father is none other than the Holy Spirit” (103). “When we pray the Father’s will to be realized on earth, God’s answer is nothing less than the third person of the Trinity” (106).
He gives some nice textual connections between the Father’s will and what the Spirit does. E.g., the Spirit is the the finger of God, the Father’s will to deliver and author the Torah (Exod 8:19; 31:18 and Luke 11:20).
The interplay of wills in the Trinity is the model of how we do God’s will: I like this — “in which the heavenly theocracy and earthly autocracies pursue their ultimate ends, expose their true natures, and by grace reconcile” (108).
The “Spirit” as the will of the Father — now that’s an idea worth pondering this day with friends.