Daniel 2:31-49 pictures the human approach to building civilization as a figure of a man, built of parts that each will crumble on impact. This is a picture of our human systems which, though each bringing some benefit, also bring at their foundations systemic patterns of injustice, racism, sexism, violence, control, and greed. Even the best empires we build, however tolerant, cannot avoid being caught up in these cycles of injustice in some way.
God’s realm is pictured as like the giant stone that smashes these imperfect systems and then rises to replace them with a pristine mountain. In the midst of the world’s systems of injustice God breaks through in the example of saints and prophets, mystics and non-violent resisters to injustice, holy women and men, and not-so-holy folks who simply choose inspired by a dream of a better world to say “no more” to injustice and thoughtlessness.
Growing up I heard this text preached in hope of the beauty of the a better world coming in “the world tomorrow” when Jesus came in glory and ended the reigns of evil in the world that is. Ultimately, as Christians, we hope for a new world coming. But I think a better application of this text is that it invites us to be a part of this stone that is set against those systems of injustice and oppression in whatever society we are a part of. As we choose to stand up against them in big and small ways, we choose to help make present here and now the better world the prophets and mystics dreamed of.
What injustice or lack of compassion reigns in your community? How can you either speak up and act against it, or set a different example by living out compassion and fairness to all where you live? Let’s live as citizens of God’s heavenly kingdom here and now, transforming this world little by little by our actions.
Let it be so!