In the face of an unjust tragedy like the police murder of George Floyd, I often find myself wanting for a song that focuses on the kingdom that Jesus preaches. The problem is, when Christian songs take the rare venture into the kingdom subject, too often they offer more of an escape plan than a movement anthem.
I want to sing about the kingdom of justice, of liberation—the kingdom Jesus invites us into, which is sprouting up right here in the midst of the old one, with our help. This is why I wrote The Kingdom of the Lord is Here.
This is not a “let’s all just get along” kind of song. While the melody is gentle, this song is about radical acceptance, nonviolence, justice, and the inescapable truth that Jesus calls us to get our hands dirty and bring God’s kingdom here.
I specifically structured the lines in a way to first say things we can all agree on, but then state what qualifiers have to be in place to make that happen. For example:
Here enemies stand side by side
… by truth and justice unified.
Here earthly cries are not ignored, it blooms and lives forevermore
… in places that our hands restored.
Where love and understanding’s learned
… where prejudice is left to burn, oppression’s tables overturned.
The Kingdom of the Lord is Here works when your congregation is reeling from an unjust event, as well as a rallying celebration when your church chooses to do something to make the world a better place. Because that’s how God’s kingdom works! When you see something that opposes God’s kingdom, you preach the kingdom; when you see the God’s kingdom right in front of you, you preach the kingdom.
Friends, I pray that you have the courage to say the names of people with knees on their necks, and that you challenge other church leaders to do the same. The kingdom of the Lord is here, and where it’s not, God calls us to build it.