There is fashion, there is fad,Propellorheads / Shirley Bassey
Some is good, some is bad.
And the joke is rather sad:
That it’s all just a little bit of history repeating…
The Old Testament is more than a collection of historical records, poems and provocations – it recounts in detail, and from many different viewpoints, a very long story of God dealings with people – and in particular with one nation, through whom He revealed to the wider world what He is like.
Throughout the Old Testament, the Israelite nation go through repeating cycles: God delivers them from oppression and they live gratefully for a while, but then they turn away and start to live their own way. God protects them from the consequences for a while, and warns them that life doesn’t work that way, but when they persist, He withdraws that protection and lets them see what it’s like to live without His constant blessing. They start to experience difficulties, society breaks down, foreign relations become aggressive, and inevitably they end up oppressed by their own despot or by another nation. Finally, they reach a tipping point where their distress is greater than their pride, and they call out to God – and He rescues them. They live gratefully for a while, but then … well, you get the picture.
Why mention this now? Well, looking around at our situation in the UK, I believe that we are nearing that tipping point. Why? Firstly, as Pete Grieg has written1See this article on Premier’s website, there are signs that people are reaching out to God in this time: church attendance is increasing, many are praying for the first time, and songs such as “The Blessing” are being watched by hundreds of new people with each passing minute. However, this is also against a backdrop in which people are deeply longing for change – and much of that change they long for is really the Kingdom of God.
That’s a bold statement to make! If at the end of 2019 you’d made the claim that the rapid social change we were witnessing was really a longing for more of God, I think most would have dismissed it. As our fronts of self-confidence are stripped away in this time of Coronavirus, I think we’re seeing that it’s true. Below, I’ve listed off some ways in which I think our society is longing for the Kingdom of God. None is without their problems for society – in each area, the Kingdom goes far beyond what humans hope for, but it also challenges our standards and motivations.
- We want justice
- We want perfection
- We want protection
- We want freedom (but also laws)
- We want meaning & purpose
Within our society, there is a mix of desires. We can be quick to point out the ones that are “fallen” (that is: hostile to God); but even in our fallen state, we carry something of the image of God, and we desire good and right things, too. Could those “right desires” be pointers to faith for people we know? My hope is that these posts will provide a basis for conversations with friends, relatives and neighbours – and perhaps a gentle provocation to some readers who do not follow Jesus, too! And along with all this, let it push us to prayer. Our nation needs to experience the Kingdom of God!