I recently read the book Jesus Was a Liberal: Reclaiming Christianity for All by Rev. Scotty McLennan, a Unitarian Universalist minister. Although published in 2009, I found it very appropriate reading for the past campaign season. It speaks very well to our time, to where we are now. The reason I mention it here, however, is because a certain passage in it spoke to me very much and speaks very well to what this blog is about. I give quote:
The notion that a divine consciousness of how things might be is is both deep within us and among us, longing to grow, is a powerful incentive not only toward respect for the inherent worth and dignity of every person but also toward furthering the goal of world community, with liberty and justice for all. This seed imagery is the link for me between the personal and social imagery in the Bible’s apocalyticism. We are called personally to be alert and awake — living as if the full kingdom of God, in all of its social implications, is already inside of us, yearning to come to fruition. Recognizing that the kingdom of God is somehow accessible within each of us, and then living with an active expectation of its social fufillment throughout the whole world, requires us to keep attentive, aware, and live as committed members of the human community, It encourages us to take care of our own spiritual lives as well as to reach out to others in need.
McLennan continues, speaking specifically about Jesus:
There are strong ethical requirements when we’re living in the knowledge that the kingdom has already come inwardly in fledgling, seedling form in our hearts and outwardly in Jesus’s divine incarnation on earth some 2000 years ago, but has not yet come in all its glory either within us or in the world.
In his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus tells us some of what it means to live withing God’s kingdom in seedling form: “Do not resist an evildoer . . . Give to everyone who begs from you . . . Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you . . . If you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you . . . Do not judge, so that you may not be judged . . . In everything do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Jesus instructs us for life in this world now, where the kingdom of God is already incrementally breaking into hearts and minds. That’s how and why we can keep saying the Lord’s Prayer that Jesus taught his disciples: “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”
I got the idea for stating the affirmation, “I Declare World Peace,” from the website, IDeclareWorldPeace.com. That site calls for posting such, especially in social media, as a way of consciousness-raising to end war. (Please check out the site.) For myself, I additionally think of it in terms of what McLennan describes above. What he is describing is what is meant by shalom, salaam, and the kingdom of God. I think of “world peace” as encompassing the well-being of Earth and all of its inhabitants knowing that war is not the answer. We can declare world peace in our affirmations, in our thinking, our being, and our doing.
I Declare World Peace. Please join me.