May 3, 2011

Reshuffling the Deck Or Playing a New Game

The future of governments have been in the news a lot lately. The world watched as Egypt fought for a new government, and for the right to vote in a true democracy. Shortly after winning that right other countries throughout the Middle East began to demand the same change.

For example Libya has entered into a bloody, and what will likely be a long civil war. At its simplest we have a group of people that are fighting for a new government.

On Friday Prince William and Katherine were married while 3 billion people watched the future king and queen of England make their vows. People are, at least momentarily excited, to see what the future will hold for the English Monarchy.

And here in Canada we voted yesterday and as a result the political landscape has changed dramatically.
Politics, and power are always news worthy. Be it a scandal in a democracy, the brutal reign of a dictator, the charity work of a future monarch, or the rantings of a military commander politics and power are interesting.

Perhaps more interesting (at least to me) are the fundamental questions that every form of government has to answer; who has power over whom, how do they get it, and how do the keep it? Do the people grant power for a limited amount of time? Does a charismatic leader take power with military might, and hold on to it as long as they can? Or does a person have the power as a divine right simply by being born, and will have it all their life?

All governments answer these questions. And all forms of governments have various pro's and con's. I think some have a lot more pro's than con's for sure. And there are lots of forms of governments that I don't want to live in. But sometimes I find myself thinking that each time a government changes that in the end nothing really changes that much.

Most changes in government is not real change. We have a reshuffling of the deck, but we are still playing the same game. People are given, or take power and they precise or rule over others. Methods shift, but the game remains constant.

However Christianity purposes something different. It purposes a new game.

Jesus teaches us that there is to be no masters among Christians, just servants. Jesus himself who was the master and the teacher lived as a servant.

The Christ Hymn found in Philippians 2 is a great sum up of this principle;

'You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.

Though he was God,
he did not think of equality with God
as something to cling to.
Instead, he gave up his divine privileges;
he took the humble position of a slave
and was born as a human being.
When he appeared in human form,
he humbled himself in obedience to God
and died a criminal’s death on a cross.

Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor
and gave him the name above all other names,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.'

Jesus was a servant. And we are told to do likewise. This goes so far beyond the norm for many of us. Some feel they have done their Christian political duty by voting for the right. Others feel they have done their duty by voting left. But neither is sufficient. 

Jesus tells us we have to do something different. We are to forget about power altogether and serve. 

Right now I think many of us are coming face to face with the fact that for the past few decades, maybe centuries Christianity has tried to rule much of the world. That rule has been by on large rejected. It is time for us to get back to basics. For us to be servants of God, serving people, in the world.

The world will always have rulers there is no getting around that. However as we move forward let's pray that Christianity is no longer defined by power politics, but by servanthood.