As we are beginning to wake up to the grave damage we have wreaked on the planet - here is a saving perspective and motive to act.
‘He will proclaim peace for the nations. His empire will stretch from sea to sea, from the River to the ends of the earth.’ The prophet looks forward to the day when God’s peace and reign will contain all humanity. The Biblical vision of a God with a universal intent should amaze and stun us. From a particular man, in a small place and nation, comes a canvas so vast as to embrace the whole of humanity and the whole earth. If this is not fulfilled in Christ and does not now convince us of the need to enter this original dialogue between God and all humanity, then our Christianity is impoverished. Psalm 144 takes up the theme: ‘How good is the Lord to all, compassionate to all his creatures.’ The Psalms reflect the universal dialogue between a loving, compassionate God and the whole of creation. This has to be our perspective. It presents us with an invitation to enter the dialogue of compassion between God and all creation. At a time when we are beginning to wake up to the grave damage we have wreaked on the planet – here is a saving perspective and motive to act.
Paul takes up the same universal perspective and invites everyone to live spiritual lives – not just his immediate audience. Moreover, he insists that the dialogue springs from the Spirit of God who has made his home in us! This dialogue is at once one of the greatest intimacy and the greatest scope – it can include everyone.
Matthew has Jesus exclaim: ‘I bless you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth…Come to me, all (all!) you who labour…’ Jesus speaks to the whole of humanity. The Father is the Father of all creation – not any section or exclusive group or set of followers or Church or even all humanity but humanity as ‘earthlings’ (A word coined or used by Diarmuid O’Murchu). Here, Matthew may be referring to all those over-burdened and labouring under the Law imposed on the simple people by the religious and state authorities of the day. It is of the very definition of the Divine dialogue to be inclusive, offered to all humanity, with no exceptions. We must tread carefully when we exclude people from participation in this dialogue that we do so for unimpeachable reasons – very likely there are none.