Thy Kingdom Come

The Bible is probably the most influential book ever written but certain sections stand out - they stand out because they are stunning in their breadth, simplicity and power. The Lord prayer is one of those passages. In a few sentences, Jesus Christ covers virtually the whole gamut of human experience and need.

The teachings of the Bible embrace virtually all spheres of human endeavor. In Genesis we see the origins of matter, man and life. We have described for us what the limits of our universe are and the constrict of time, we understand the uniqueness of mankind and its capacity and potential and the reasons for its frequent failure to achieve its potential.

In the first five Books of the Old Testament you have laid out rules as to how we should live and govern ourselves. Virtually every aspect of life is covered as Moses seeks to discover what God intends for the people he has placed on this tiny planet in a time constrained Universe. In the rest of the Old Testament you experience the roller coaster that is life in real terms, obey the rules and prosper, disobey and experience collapse and dispersion.

The circle is completed in the New Testament and we understand the Alpha and the Omega - the beginning and the end. Where it started and where it will finish. I know of no other book in history that contains such a comprehensive guide to life and society.

So when Christ told us to pray 'thy Kingdom come' what did he mean? Did he refer to some sort of new earth that would replace the old? Or was he referring to a new dispensation on earth, in the here and now. I think the latter and for me this is very exciting. It means we - all of us, can actually do something about our condition.

In Genesis, once mankind is created and set up on planet earth, he is given a vision and a mandate. The mandate was to manage the world on our own. As an aside, this mandate was given to mankind - male and female and therefore we share joint accountability for what we have done with our mandate. Clearly when it comes to the natural world we are not doing so well, we are tearing through our natural resources at a pace that means we will soon (in geological time - very soon) run out of everything except garbage.

In the field of financial management we are also not doing so good. Given the capacity to borrow we have done what we do best - everything in excess. We are hocked to our eyebrows and have no way out but to tighten our belts and work our way back to the beach. In the field of relationships we are no better - the past century has been fraught by wars and conflict on a scale never seen before in history. Even today, every relationship that is important to us is under threat - family, friends, countrymen and countries - all in conflict with one another.

I was born into a country that has been at both the centre and the side of those developments - a country that has known nothing but conflict for over a century. Now we are going through a societal collapse - economic, social and political that has killed millions and destroyed lives and the enterprise of generations.

To those of us who follow Christ what does the prayer 'thy Kingdom come' mean for us? God's kingdom in Zimbabwe? Clearly we are in a state of collapse and dispersion similar to that experienced a number of times in the Old Testament by the people of Israel. The reasons are also the same - we have failed as a country, to put the Mosaic principles of governance into practice.

Putting our country back on track means reversing that process in all spheres. It means new rules for government, local authorities and the judicial system. It means recognizing what has gone wrong and what must be done to put things right. That is not the responsibility of God - its our responsibility, its our mandate.

It means many things - starting right now. It involves justice, justice for the perpetrators and the victims; it calls for forgiveness at the same time so that we are not consumed by bitterness or hatred. It involves fiscal and financial prudence, hard work and integrity. It involves consensual decision making at all levels - from the constitution making process we are about to begin to the structures that will administer our schools and clinics. It involves respecting the rights of everyone and protecting those rights so that there is security for investment and savings.

It can only happen if we are all committed to His Kingdom in our collective and individual lives. This is the very real challenge that confronts us in the New Year.

I am convinced that South Africa will force through the formation of the transitional government in January. They have called for an emergency SADC summit in the second week of January. Today Justina Mukoko and others were brought from Police cells in Harare to Court - I am sure that is another sign of growing South African pressure on this rogue regime. Now watch Morgan Tsvangirai's passport appear like magic from the desk drawer of the Registrar General.

I think we will see the regime forced by SADC leaders to backtrack on itself and agree to the demands of the MDC and then the formation of a transitional government with MDC clearly in charge. By the end of January we should have a new government and this should start work in early February. Then the responsibility for the 'Kingdom' changes hands, lets all pray this Christmas that the new team will not fail us.

Justina and the others are being charged with recruiting people to go for training in camps in Botswana. It has been clear for weeks that the regime was trying to justify the declaration of a state of emergency under which they could withdraw from the SADC transitional government agreement, perhaps ban the MDC arrest its leadership and rule by decree. Hence the phony bomb blasts at police stations and bridges and on railways, hence the dossier sent to the SADC States with three forced confessions on CD's.

But they are not getting away with this - attempts to foster street violence have come to nothing. The region has poured scorn on the allegations about Botswana and I am sure that when Justina comes to Court it will be very embarrassing for the regime.

Eddie Cross
Bulawayo, 24th December 2008