We all dream of living in a Utopia…that’s the American dream, right? Even if your ice cream cone drips all over, you snap a photo and toss the shirt into a sparkling clean washer. Life is predictable, pleasant, and orderly.
People have schemed ways of creating a Utopian society since the beginning of time. One of them was founded around the Tower of Babel. The world united in an enormous construction project designed to get up to God’s level (read all about it in Genesis 11). In the end, God dispersed the peoples by mixing up their language.
The pursuit of a Utopian society never left humanity, but some of the optimism is extinct. Star Trek presented a futuristic world where people are held captive by a machine that feeds them a dream of what they most desire in life. Where would your happy place land you? The machine gets your energy and you get lasting life in a place designed to keep you happy. But you are stuck. Would you stay? The Matrix and the Giver are both contemporary views of what might happen if a Utopia was actually created. One presents a world without true feelings, color, music, or interactions. The other presents a dream world where people have the nagging itch that something more is out there, and some break free.
But back to God; He had focused interactions with the people of Israel. Did God try to create a Utopian society? Well, the people coming out of Egypt were unruly and they complained a lot. The book of Judges is pretty graphic about how Israel did when they got their own land. Did they get close to Utopia when David and Solomon ruled? If they did, it was a shaky platform, and the kingdom collapsed from the inside in the next generation. After that, it was all downhill until Israel was taken into captivity.
But we cannot give up on Utopia. My life revolves around the reality of a world that is broken, and the fantasy of a world of perfection. I keep trying to find ways to be more comfortable, more happy, satisfied, loved, content. And many days I go to bed discouraged, sure that my happy hopes for the future are so many mirages on the pavement ahead.
So is there still hope for a Utopia? The Bible presents Jesus as the second David, the Ruler whose kingdom would not end. But He did not perform His office as expected. He gave up His power and rights and even His life for ungrateful people. And then He rose again, with glory and honor currently His in heaven. And Revelation describes His return to reign on earth.There will be a Utopia. Are we ready for it?
Each perfect community excludes the things that are not perfect. Our current world is not perfect, and the Bible describes how God invites us to be re-formed into people reflecting Jesus. Christians are people pursuing perfection by God’s power. And that does not translate to a comfortable, safe, pleasant, and perfectly fulfilling existence on earth. The dream will not satisfy. We know there is more out there. Jesus offers a journey to the perfect community, but that means we leave a lot behind. Utopia will come to earth – will you be ready?
God, I so often want to just keep patching my crumbling dream world. I am sorry for pursuing my own version of Utopia rather than trusting that Yours is worth the wait. God, please help me to see the truth of Your work in this world and in my life, and help me to pursue a life that looks more like Jesus. Please help me be ready for when He brings a true community at peace with each other and with You. Ahh, come soon! Amen.