An exclusive Worship Leader interview with N.T. Wright and Worship Leader’s Andrea Hunter.
Here is the response to the first question:
WL: Since this issue is really about the pastoral artist and your recently released How God Became King: The forgotten story of the Gospel,” how does seeing Jesus as King impact the way we live and worship?
N.T. WRIGHT: It is quite a deep shift I think that people need to make and I say this without having done all the kind of market research on every church in the land and how they all see things (laugh) so I know that many people are probably already up to speed with this and that I may just reflect the particular context where I’ve lived. But I think the strong sense in the New Testament that Jesus is already reigning, already ruling the world has been so just forgotten by the Church and partly because it seems so counter intuitive, you know, people still say and I read just the other day that “of course the idea that the kingdom of God actually came then [In Christ’s first advent] is manifestly wrong because just look out the window and read the newspaper and watch the television and you will see that the world is not being ruled by a good and wise and loving Jesus.” But that simply mistakes the kind of rule that Jesus himself constantly said he was having. That’s what the parables are about, what his re-definition of power in Mark 10, etc and the Sermon on the Mount [is about]. This is what real world-changing power looks like, the meek the brokenhearted, the wounded, the little people and the people who are hungry for justice, that’s how the world changes, not through the big people we see as power brokers.
And it seems to me that actually can be an enormous confidence booster, which is precisely what is going on at the end of Mathew in Mathew 28 when Jesus says all authority has been given to me. You therefore go and do this, that and the other and he doesn’t say it’s gonna be easy. He doesn’t say it’ll be just a pushover, you know, pushing on an open door; far from it. It wasn’t for him, it won’t be for us, but the fact is he’s already in charge and one day that will be complete and manifest and all the rest of it. And that I think, that sense of it is almost a sigh of relief that he’s already in charge. I once said a sermon like this when I was preaching for the ordination of some young clergy and I said “how many new clergy does it take to change a light bulb” and the answer is “Jesus has already changed it. It’s your job to go and switch it on.” And I think that sense that something has already happened as a result of which the world is a different place and what we are doing is implementing something that has already been achieved rather than having to achieve something which is going against the grain of the deepest reality.
That for me is the center of it and of course that then stimulates and evokes worship. I mean worship is quite different when you’re worshiping the one who is already the king of the world rather than worshiping one who is kind of your private lord who you hope will one day be king of the world as it were. And we rightly summon all creation to join in our praises, you know. I love that old song that the three men in the burning fiery furnace sang in the Apocrypha
All your works bless you lord…
Whales and all that move in the waters bless you lord…
Every green thing upon the earth bless you lord…
The whole creation is summoned now to praise the lord. And there’s kind of an exuberance about that which reflects the sense of what is already true rather than simply something we hoped might be true one day.
Read HERE the entire interview.