Human Beings Before the Kingdom

I was reading Herman Waetjen's book A Reordering of Power: A Socio-Political Reading of Marks Gospel, and was struck by a point he made.

Waetjen makes the observation in relation to Jesus' baptism that the New Human Being (the "Son of Man") comes before the establishment of the kingdom. Jesus, as the "Human One," comes first, and he begins the work of establishing his kingdom. A work, as we keep praying "May your kingdom come," that still seems ongoing.

I find this ordering important. First, new human beings, and then the kingdom. Because, can you create and establish the kingdom without new human beings? I don't think so. We'd reject or hate the kingdom. Thus the need for repentance as a prerequisite for the kingdom. "Repent," Jesus says, "the kingdom of God is at hand."   

I'm intrigued by all this because it suggests that the most vital and necessary political work that we can be doing right now is becoming human beings. But given the political chaos in our country we keep trying to bring the kingdom first. And we're failing miserably. Could it be that we've gotten the order wrong? Could it be that you can't bring a new kingdom unless you have the new human beings in place to create and welcome it?

Maybe ignoring Washington to focus on becoming a human being is the most subversive and necessary political work we can be doing right now.

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