The following passage is the prophet Isaiah’s description of what God’s kingdom will look like. This statement of hope makes very clear what all those who pray “thy kingdom come” should demand of their elected officials. The policy implications of this vision are obvious, and the contrast between the depiction of God’s Holy Mountain and the “kingdom” that our own institutions perpetuate is damning.
“Behold, I will create new heavens and a new earth…Never again will there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, or an old man who does not live out his years…they will build houses and dwell in them; they will plant vineyards and eat their fruit. No longer will they build houses and others live in them, or plant and others eat. For as the days of a tree, so will be the days of my people; my chosen ones will long enjoy the works of their hands. They will not toil in vain or bear children doomed to misfortune; for they will be a people blessed by the LORD…the wolf and the lamb will feed together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox…they will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain,” says the LORD.” (Is. 65:17-25)
Let us consider that in the United States, 1 in 5 Americans with a full-time job is paid so little that–even with both parents working–their family still lives in poverty.
Thirty-five million Americans are so poor that at least once a month they cannot afford to buy food. Of those 35 million people, over 13 million are children. Put another way, just shy of 1 in 5 children in this country have parents who regularly have to face the soul-crushing reality that they will be sending their child to bed hungry because they cannot afford groceries. Before Obamacare, over 9 million children in this country had no health insurance.
Some may say that Isaiah’s vision of the Kingdom of God is a pipedream completely out of our grasp this side of the grave. But is a world where children and the elderly do not die before their time because they lack access to basic medicine and health care; a world where workers fully share in the fruits of their labor so that they can live with dignity and without worry that their families will go homeless and their children hungry; a world where a child’s future is not determined by what side of the tracks or equator he is born on; a world where peace and hope reign…is such a world truly beyond our grasp, an ideal that can be brought about only through miraculous, divine intervention?