“But seek ye first the kingdom of God … and all these things will be added unto you.” – Matthew 6:33 (KJV)
I have a new fear: that our governance structures, civic and religious, are insufficient to the opportunities and problems of the day. Global warming is global warming. Many congregations know they are in institutional hospice yet can’t even agree about looking for a nurse. States are creating laws to limit out-of-state abortion access, but you can go to New Hampshire to buy your liquor because it’s not taxed there. The Supreme Court appears to lack interest in having a code of ethics.
Democratic processes are magnificent, and they are in trouble because God is neither first nor in charge. We, feebly, are.
The Matthew 6 text uses an old-fashioned governance term, “kingdom,” and asks us to seek first governance structures that are more capable of governing.
Examples of true independence that create democratic processes worthy of the trouble of the time? Spoiler alert: they require some adults in the room to take control of the process.
My brother ran a landscaping company. He had six teams: one Guatemalan, one Mexican, another Salvadoran, another Dominican, another Nicaraguan, another lesbian. Three days a week they worked in teams; two days a week they all had to work together.
Let us put first things first and everything else second. As we go to the parade and sing the great patriotic songs, let us love the challenge of governance – of making sure all people are served well by our structures. Amen.
Donna Schaper works nationally for Bricks and Mortals, a NYC-based organization that provides sustainable solutions for sacred sites. Her newest book is Remove the Pews: Spiritual Possibilities for Sacred Spaces, from The Pilgrim Press.