“Do you see all these things?” he asked. “Truly I tell you, not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.” Matthew 24.2
I am not a gardener but I do gardening. Over the years I have re-landscaped a number of the gardens surrounding the homes we have occupied. Each has been unique, the one common factor being that they have all required spade-work, whether digging out the rhododendrons obscuring the view at my family home near Dunvegan or digging a drainage trench around the manse here in Breakish. Dry-stone walls have been built and home-made deer fences erected. I am not advertising my services! The point I am making is that we cannot achieve radical change without being prepared to roll up our sleeves and get dirty.
People use the word "radical" carelessly, to mean "extreme" or "way out". Its real meaning is very different. Coming from the the Latin root for... root (radix), "radical" implies the earthy heart of the matter in question. When applied to prayer, which has been the focus of these blogs over recent weeks, it concerns getting to grips with the realities of the world as it is and applying the promises of God at face value. So we pray Kingdom values into secular, even demonic, situations; for example, against the demand for society's right to end life prematurely we affirm the sanctity of life, on the authority of the Lord of Life to whom we are all accountable.
When we add up all the issues and situations in which we thus grapple, it amounts to an agenda for total transformation - of society and citizens. It starts with us and our willingness to be transformed but it certainly doesn't end there. Yet in its relentless spreading, like so many other aspects of Kingdom life, its progress is subtle, invisible even. That is the Jesus way! Because it reminds us that it is not about us, it is about him; that what is immediately apparent masks what is actually happening. Take church growth for instance. The very places which are reckoned to be strongholds of atheism or of other religions are where the church is growing fastest - though underground. Which reminds me... Today is the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church. Organisations like CSW and Open Doors are hosting an online prayer event between 7.30 and 8.30pm, for which we can register online...