Every Sunday, in Anglican churches around the world, there comes a time in the liturgy when the deacon leads the congregation to pray for those in positions of authority. Here, in Fresno California, this prayer looks like something like this:
Celebrant: We pray for Barak our president, Arnold our governor, Ashley our mayor, and for all who govern and hold authority in the nations of the world
Congregation : That there may be justice and peace on the earth
In this particular prayer a liberal president and a conservative governor and mayor are equally upheld, and so it forces Christians to pray across party lines. To generalize, it puts the name of potential political adversaries on the lips of believers to ask that God would not curse them, nor judge them, but uphold them, and regardless of their political persuasion, guide them by wisdom.
I would love it if all who called themselves followers of Christ would demonstrate the spirit of this prayer in their lives. I would love it if the spirit of this prayer was so characteristic of Christians that the world, and particularly the media, couldn’t figure out where to place them on the political spectrum. This certainly is one way the Church could demonstrate that it lives, moves, and has its being beyond the broken options of this world.
Somewhere in the New Testament Christians are referred to as a peculiar people. The idea behind this designation is that Christians are to be genuinely engaged in the world, without fitting into the pattern or patterns of this world. Christians are to be completely active in societies without becoming rooted in the ideologies that profoundly constitute the people of those societies. In short, to be peculiar is to not fit, and to not fit is to be so caught up in the Kingdom that no worldly category can contain you.
To sum up what I am saying, I want to see the liturgy spill across the walls of the Church and out into the world.