The Promise of No Promised Land

The Promise of No Promised Land June 28, 2018

The poor have always been and will always be with us.

Standing Rock (c) 2016 Backbone Campaign | Flickr

Some laws have always been and will always be unjust. 

Immigrants and refugees have always been and will always be dehumanized and rejected at the borders of cities where wealthy sloths drown in excess. 

The marginalized have never found and will never find themselves at the seat of power.

That earth has always been and will always be plundered and pillaged and raped by the greedy.

We will not see the Promised Land in this lifetime. 

There are days when I sink so deep into these truths that I fear I might drown under the weight of such dark and heavy waters. 

Like today, and most days of this past week, this past month, these past 18 months, these past years. 

But there are moments of clarity in which I’m reminded:

These truths are not a noose around our necks but promises true and kept: The Kingdom of God that dwells within can be drawn out. The Kingdom is the Resisting. 

For as long as humans have existed we’ve clawed for liberation
— and been freed.

We have starved
— and been fed.

We have suffered oppression, fought the good fight
— and loosed chains.

We have stumbled through deserts and fallen hard on our knees
— at rivers of mercy.

We have been executed
— and then resurrected.

For those of us born into privilege, there will always be hungry mouths to feed, prisoners to set free, oppression to resist, laws to overturn, crowns to crush, tables to flip.

So long as there is power, there will always be an oppressor to hoard and lord over.

The gates of hell can be opened with the flick of a pen signing this or that executive order. It takes no work or will to make this earth hell for others; just a yawning indifference. But the Kingdom of Heaven is a long, arduous labor of love.

Tonight as my husband and I discussed the past month and week and day — the humanitarian crisis at our border, our Black neighbor who was killed by police last weekend, the looming retirement of Justice Kennedy in the wake of a few decisions that stand as a boot on the neck of the people, the SCOTUS’s inevitable shift even further to the right with anyone Trump appoints to the bench, and the disastrous impact their and his and congress’s and our decisions will have for decades to come — we lamented in frustration how disheartening it is to realize how much more work there is to do now and how much more work our son will have to do as a result of the current madness. 

Even as my heart sank, our 7-year-old son interjected:
“I’ll do the work, mom. Don’t worry. I’ll do the work! I’ll stand up for what’s right. I’ll make the changes and we WILL win. I won’t give up! 

The Kingdom of Heaven was not and will not be built overnight or over decades, but over generations upon generations upon generations of inexhaustible, indefatigable stewards who work and build and hope without ceasing on behalf of theirs and the next generations, even as hammers come to crush the bricks just after they’re laid. We are the Kingdom of Heaven as we build it.

“Resistance is Growing” (c) 2005 Sean Savange | Flickr

And the next generation will learn from us, as we learned from those who marched before us, who learned from those who freed slaves before them, who learned from the Christ who fought the injustices we fight today, suffered the oppression we suffer today, and was crucified by the same principalities and powers that execute resisters in the streets today. 

It is this great cloud of witnesses, our ancestral overseers, the host of heaven who watch us and propel forward in this hope: That giving ourselves and our lives entirely to a Kingdom that is better than this world is the most worthy way to live and die. 

There will always be work;
May there always be workers.
We will always be building a better Kingdom;
May we all be builders. 

About Amy Courts
Amy Courts is a passionate wife, mom, singer-songwriter, activist in Minneapolis. She has tattoos and opinions. You can read more about the author here.

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  • Michael Mangold

    I personally draw strength from the Old Testament prophets, their remonstrations against the the rulers and elitists. Remember, God did not want a king. Let’s take it from there: let no one rule us. THAT is the greatest violence ever. We may, and in my tradition we should, still fight against current injustices, but the worst injustice of all is any government. Keep up the good fight, Amy (and son).

  • Robert LIMB

    Good article – I have a few reservations, but like Sinatra’s regrets, too few to mention.