As you can tell by the last several posts I have lately been impressed with the expansiveness and earthiness of Christ's governance. He has come, at least in part, to have rulership in the here and now. The reign of Christ is intimately personal and it is immeasurably global - both today and escatalogically. His reign is individual, social, economic and political. We would like to limit him to the sphere of the "me" or perhaps extend his reign as far as the Christian community. But Jesus must have the supremacy over all things, including all the ways in which humans govern one another, over how the poor are treated, over the ways in which we generate wealth, over corrections facilities, over judicial systems, over waste and sanitation, and over any way humans can manipulate the environment. And talk about universal health care - the Greek word for "save" (sodezo) is used on occasion for "heal," or "to be made whole." He came to save-heal-make whole the entire human family: physically, spiritually and emotionally.
So if his kingdom is to come on earth now, what of Jesus' words to Pilate, "My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm" (John 18:36). There are times when the Greek word "cosmos" or “world” is referring to the ways of this world, or in the vernacular we might say "the worldly," rather than to planet earth and its people. In essence Jesus is saying in this passage, "My kingdom is not worldly. If it were, my servants would use violence just like people in this realm do. But my kingdom doesn't work that way."
Jesus' desire, no ... more than that ... his every intention, is to have supremacy over all things in this world (Col. 1:18) both now and forever. This includes me as an individual as well as British Petroleum, or the Sultanate of Brunei, or the US Senate, or the Board of Regents for the University system in Georgia or even MTV.
When worshipping Jesus this morning I was thinking about these things. It is easy (and appropriate) to worship him for the personal stuff. "Jesus I love the ways you rend space and come to me in very intimate, personal ways - addressing fears and concerns, meeting basic needs, and making my joy complete." But to worship him because of the nature of his dominion, his rule over all things, his kingdom come to earth; this is less easy in most of the Evangelical worship settings I find myself in because we are almost exclusively focused on the personal advantages of knowing Jesus.
There is a hyper-personalization of our encounter with Christ. He comes with a strictly personal agenda and we respond with worship that rises out of the personal benefits that being in relationship with him brings. But what if his coming kingdom has some apparent disadvantages for me as it did for the rich, young ruler? What if some of the systems of this world are bent toward me in ways that disadvantage others, and he has come to straighten them?
Can I worship Jesus even if his reign causes me to have less money, less status and less power? Can I worship him when his rule will bring the deposing of the powerful and advantaged and the exalting of the powerless, even if I am the powerful and advantaged that get deposed? "He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty," (Luke 1:53) was the song on his mother's lips as she considered the radical reversal of fortune the coming of her son signaled.
As someone who has been advantaged by centuries of slavery, who has had doors opened for no reason other than the fact that I carry the right color passport, as someone who has more in common with those upon whom Jesus pronounced woes (Luke 6:24-26) than those who were called blessed - can I still worship?
Even if his coming kingdom takes away all I own, removes all my advantages, and makes me despised by those whom this world regards as great, I worship. I worship because such a kingdom reveals the beauty and glory of a king like nothing this world has to offer.