Acts of Advent 7

The first act of advent is adoration; the second is “activism” for the kingdom of God. It is far too easy for some to “spiritualize” the word “kingdom” so that it means personal relationship with God; it is far too easy for others to “socialize” the word “kingdom” so that it means social activism.

The activism of advent that concerns the kingdom can be seen in Mary’s wondrous Magnificat. Here it is from Luke 1:46-55:

46 And Mary said:

“My soul glorifies the Lord 47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
48 
for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant.
From now on all generations will call me blessed,
49 
for the Mighty One has done great things for me-holy is his name.
50
 
His mercy extends to those who fear him,from generation to generation.
51 
He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.
52 
He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble.
53 
He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty.
54 
He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful
55
 
to Abraham and his descendants forever, even as he said to our fathers.”

The activist vision that is genuinely connected to Jesus involves the work of God in Jesus Christ and his kingdom work. It is connected to a God who is Mighty and Holy and Merciful to those who fear God. To catch the kingdom vision of Jesus and to be active in that vision requires that one begins right here: with the God of the kingdom vision, the God who his Holy and Merciful and Mighty.

About Scot McKnight

Scot McKnight is a recognized authority on the New Testament, early Christianity, and the historical Jesus. McKnight, author of more than forty books, is the Professor of New Testament at Northern Seminary in Lombard, IL.

  • http://evancurry.com/ Evan

    Scot,
    It is true. It is easy to both spiritualize and socialize “kingdom” without ever seeing the connection between one’s relationship with God and his or her role in activism. I love how Mary’s Magnificat beautifully alludes to the Hebrew Scriptures. In v. 50 she alludes to the fear of God that brings mercy. In Job 28, fear of God is a pious relationship with God. In Psalm 2, the fear of God is active in the social/political realm. Fearing God involves both relationship and activism. I believe Mary’s Magnificat does well in putting these two things together.
    Wonderful reminder at Advent! Jesus’ first coming allows for relationship between God and humans, but Jesus’ first coming also brought social change (as Mary celebrates). And his second will do something much similar – God to earth, and he comes to judge both the living and the dead.


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