The early Christians had a problem with the Baptist. He had preached the nearness of the the kingdom of God before Jesus had. And Jesus had been baptized by him. Thus the Baptists disciples could claim that their master was prior to and therefore superior to the master of the Christians. So they rearranged history a little bit of pedagogical purposes.
The Baptist was not so much about an apocalyptic intervention of God which would punish all sinners as he was preaching about the coming of Jesus who would embody the kingdom of God.
In fact, the kingdom as preached by Jesus was a kingdom of love and mercy lurking near to and all around humankind, a difference which is perhaps more important today than it seemed to the early Christians.
Fr. Greeley's Last Book:
Once upon a time there was a company which was in a bad way. The last three CEOs had been dummies. The companies stock had lost 60% of its value, its market share had decline by thirty percent, it’s bright people were leaving, morale among the employees was at rock bottom. The worst part of the trouble was that the product they made was still the best in the market. But the previous leaders had been lazy and mean and had spent most of their time awarding themselves and their friends huge bonuses. They paid not attention to advertising or marketing.
Finally a new board was appointed at the stockholders’ insistence. They fired the last CEO with a thunderous denunciation. They warned the employees that all their jobs – and their pensions – were in grave jeopardy. The workers were terrified.
Finally the new CEO arrived. He was expected to fire half the workers, cut back on expenses, and give the company the good shaking that everyone said it needed. Instead he walking around the building, smiled at everyone, assured them that everyone would be all right and that he didn’t plan to fire anyone. Another fool they said. Then he met with the union leaders to get their suggestions. They told him the truth that the produce was the best in the business. I thought that too, he said.
Then he hired new marketing and advertising director, brought in new advertising and public relations firm and launched a very clever television campaign. By that time everyone in the company admired him and worked hard for him. In six months the company was well on the way to recovery. “You catch more flies with honey,” a top executive said of him. And added, mixing his metaphors, “some nice guys finish first.” And the new boss merely said, “the fear of the lord is the beginning of wisdom, but only the beginning.
7 Show us your steadfast love, O LORD,
and grant us your salvation.
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