I had this email interchange with a friend the other day. I usually think best by writing, so this got me thinking:
I've been thinking about God and leadership lately. For the whole earth to rejoice when God reigns, he really must be the most splendid leader and provide the most amazing leadership. I don't think I've ever thought about God from that perspective until lately. Leadership can produce (in the people following the leader) anxiety, tears, fear, dread, tension and that's just my list! For most of us, that is our picture of leadership. There is some form of pressure inherent in the "I'm following this person" system. And so we think that must be true of God. If there aren't going to be any tears in the age to come, and if one (significant) source of tears is leadership and what happens in and with it, then God's leadership must be absolutely brilliant for there to be no tears.
I think one of the reasons the whole idea of God's leadership is foreign to most of us is because the Gospel (as commonly presented) has nothing to do with it!
It is entirely a legal framework wherein some arbitrary payment is made for my sins making it possible for me to go to heaven when I die.
There is nothing in that description of good news that makes me think about what that future might be. My fears and natural instinct for self-preservation are played to.
But Jesus message: "Repent, the Kingdom of God is at hand" is ALL about God's leadership and reign. God's reign is here and it is unspeakably good. All of our emphasis is on the repenting (and we do need to do that), but again, there is no vision for what life can be in that schema. Jesus, a great leader, cast the most compelling vision of all time--a vision for life under the rule and reign of God.