One of my big fears as we understand our faith in the context of serving the last, the least and the lost is that we drift away from our service to and worship of Christ. I don’t think that service/love of others and service/love of Christ are real choices or opposites. I think it is impossible to adequately do either in isolation from the other. I also think that history tells us that dividing these aspects has been the frontline of spiritual warfare and that many good people who have been concerned to serve the world have lost their grip on Jesus. Likewise many good people who have been concerned with staying true to Christ have withdrawn from the world. The call of God in our time is to hold these things together. Because it is a place of spiritual warfare, and because we tend to come from one of these two traditions we struggle with understanding and imagining this integral path. We must stay faithful in the fight. I found the following quote from Pope John Paul 11 helpful.
‘It is true that the inchoate reality of the Kingdom can also be found beyond the confines of the Church among peoples everywhere, to the extent that they live ‘gospel values’ and are open to the working of the Spirit who breathes where and when he will.But it must immediately be added that this temporal dimension of the Kingdom remains incomplete unless it is related to the Kingdom of Christ present in the church and straining towards eschatological fullness….The kingdom of God is not a concept, doctrine or a programme subject to free interpretation, but is before all else a person with the face and name of Jesus of Nazareth, the image of the invisible God’