I’ve been stewing on Jesus’ Sermon on the Plain (recorded in the sixth chapter of the Gospel of Luke) for several days now. It’s unsettling — but in a good way.
I don’t want to rush to a point of settlement. Instead, I want to invite the Holy Spirit into this space, so He can do some work.
I don’t know if it started with a supernatural work of the Holy Spirit… or perhaps this cultural moment in which we find ourselves… or maybe other factors… But I’ve been noticing lots of economic implications in the first several chapters of Luke’s Gospel. Listen to the Song of Mary! Heed the warnings of John the Baptist (the immediacy of John’s application to economic factors in Luke 3:10-14 is especially notable)! Observe the first words of Jesus’ anointed ministry in Nazareth! Listen to the extended teaching from the Sermon on the Plain! I’m noticing more clearly than ever before how the Kingdom of God disrupts political kingdoms and economic empires.
The message of Jesus, as recorded in the Gospel of Luke, cuts deep into the soul of the United States of America. It calls into question our collective will to elect a President whose name is practically synonymous with money.
I’m struck by the clarion call to love our enemies and bridge the divides in our country (and our world), as I read Luke 6:27-36 today. But it’s explicitly not just a heart thing. It’s a pocketbook thing. “Give to anyone who asks, and when things are taken away from you, don’t try to get them back” (v. 30). “Lend to [your enemies] without expecting to be repaid. Then your reward from heaven will be very great” (v. 35).
It sounds so radical. It feels so revolutionary. At times I feel like fomenting some sort of Christian Communist Revolution. At other times, I feel like taking a Vow of Poverty. I see needs to restructure our tax codes — much as this might hurt me). Policies need to be rewritten. The question of Reparations to descendants of our country’s enslaved peoples seems reasonable — even if it’s potentially painful.
In any event, I’m increasingly aware of the dangers of unfettered Capitalism, and it seems increasingly crazy to me that I’ve never really examined this system.
I don’t want to go in the direction of the godless, humanistic, Party-centered Communism of Vladimir Lenin or Mao Tse Tung. But I also don’t want to go in the direction of the godless, egotistical, Party-centered Capitalism of Donald Trump. I don’t like disruption purely for the sake of disruption. But the status quo is increasingly uncomfortable for me.
And if that makes me a radical, so be it.