I’ve been immersed in Karl Barth on prayer for the past 6 weeks, gearing up to write another dissertation chapter. Here are two tidbits:
“[There is a] tendency to omit, to leave aside as not too important, the question of what the Christian is commanded to be and to do in his personal life, and to turn instead to what he is to be and to do outside, in the church, and the world, in answer to the problems that await him there. This procedure usually avenges itself. What we are or are not in the innermost circle, what we do or fail to do there, what we do rightly or wrongly, will always be ultimately decisive for what we are and do in the outer circles. Faithfulness or unfaithfulness, seriousness or lack of seriousness in the one will sooner or later bring about the same in the others.” [And I would add, joy or joylessness.]
“God comes as the Holy One. He comes and creates righteousness, zealous for his honor as Creator and burning with love for his creature. He creates the righteousness which is the right order of the world that belongs to him.
He comes, and in creating righteousness, he abolishes the unrighteousness of people both in their relationship to him and also in their relationships to one another.
He comes and sets aside not only unrighteousness but also the lordship of the lordless powers, scattering them to the winds like the mists of the hypostatized fictions that they are, restoring to man the freedom over his abilities of which they robbed him, re-instituting him as the lord of the earth which he may and should be as the servant of God.
God comes, and with him comes that “peace on earth among men with whom he is pleased” (Lk 2:14), that is, among those who are elected, created, loved, saved, and kept by him. This peace on earth, actualized when God himself comes as King and Lord and creates and establishes it, is the kingdom of God.”