O King of the nations, the ruler they long for, the cornerstone uniting all people: Come and save us all, whom You formed out of clay.
O Rex gentium, et desideratus earum, lapisque angularis, qui facis utraque unum: veni, et salva hominem, quem de limo formasti.
Let's get political. 2014 was another year of political tension, turmoil, and terror.
I'm not sure if you know this about me, but I once dreamed of a career in politics. During the 1996 elections I drew political cartoons of Clinton & Dole, I was president of my 5th grade class, I reveled in the opportunity to be part of a mock party convention in junior high, travelled to D.C., joined the Student Youth Council for my city, was Associated Student Body Vice President, and applied, and was accepted to, Pace University's combined BA in Political Science/JD in Law program.
And then I dove head first into religion world.
I'm glad I did.
Other than never being able to have a discussion at the dinner table, between my interest in politics on one hand and religion on the other, I have enjoyed studying religion and eschewing politics.
Because I am ever more convinced that political platforms, government programs, & nation-states are not the answer. While they may prove some earthly good, they are not the ultimate solution. Whether it's government shutdowns in the U.S., "dirty politics" in New Zealand, coups in Egypt, persecution of minorities in Myanmar, or bloody sectarian violence in Syria we are all longing for something more. Sure, a candidate comes along that brings hope, a promise of change, a new look for the future...but then reality sets in, hairs gray, and promises and policies lose their luster.
God institutes the so-called "Left Hand" kingdom of earthly powers and authorities for our own, temporal, good. But he does not put them in place for our eternal good. He does not intend for them to speak to, or realize, our deepest longings for peace and prosperity. Only one King can fulfill those yearnings.
Rex Gentium is his name, King of the peoples - Jesus.
He is the one, the antiphon acclaims, we long for. And why? He is the "cornerstone uniting all people."
My dreams of political prowess were one part personal excitement and other part utopian vision. I saw racial division, injustice, calamity, and infrastructural mayhem growing up in Los Angeles and I wanted to do something about it. I wanted to fix it. The truth is, I can't. We can't. No one can.
I know, what a Debbie Downer.
While we can work toward change and good, beautiful, restorative things can be done as we unite around a common purpose and transform hate into compassion, injustice into equality, and marginalization into agency our work is never complete, it is never universal, it is never what we truly yearn for.
That is why we call for Jesus to come. He is the one piece we are missing from this world. As we vote for leaders, as we suffer political change, as we march in the streets, and launch into political diatribes on Facebook we are all longing for the same thing, the same person - Jesus.
He is the stone that will unite all of us into one. One building. One people. One Kingdom. The Kingdom of God. That Kingdom has come near in Jesus once (Mk 1:15) and will come again to bring the world together in hope, joy, love, and peace. For now, we wait and we work realizing that we are but dust, and to dust we, and our feeble efforts at kingdom building, shall return (Ps 103).
Yes, as we see the political strife and the worldly injustice, as we seek to make a change and work together toward peace, we pray together "Come, Lord Jesus, quickly come." Amen.