On full authority
“Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them." Mark 11.23
Tree hugging apart, have you tried talking to any mountains lately? Maybe not but there is a serious imperative behind my flippancy. In giving us the keys of the Kingdom, Jesus intends us to contribute to its advance - until he completes the process at his return. We witness examples of what he means at various stages in the Bible narrative, as well as through history, when those who "get it" exercise this heavenly mandate in appropriate situations and score significant victories, large or small, against the powers of evil.
The kind of intervention we are talking about here is not what most of us are used to. Many of us assume that faith in God involves praying with and for one another, worshipping God in church and being salt and light in the world. All of this is good and necessary. But there is more. Being the hands and feet of Jesus, moving in the rhythms of grace, heralding the coming Kingdom beckons us to another level. As Paul challenges us in his letter to the Ephesians (chapter 6, verse 12) our fight is not primarily about the presenting issues but about the spiritual forces behind them. To take a topical example, climate change is the consequence of greed and neglect and therefore measures to control gas emissions and curb intensive farming and fishing will only work if we address the sinful impulses which drive them.
Sometimes praying into these situations involves intercession with God but often our approach needs to be directed at the predicament we face - because we already know God's view and we already have his authority. I suspect the very thought will set pulses racing and alarm bells ringing because nothing is more dangerous than religious fanatics roaming around abusing the gullible. But that should not be a reason to shy away, where God is calling us to step up. The way forward here is to tread carefully and humbly, with common-sense on the one hand and discernment on the other, always checking that our motives are as pure as our faith in God is sure. And so we lock horns with whatever obstacles are getting in the way of God's will for creation and for creatures, whose physical and psychological manifestations will have spiritual roots, which is where our focus - as spiritually-minded people - will need to be.