Throughout the Middle East and North Africa, people are clamoring for justice, freedom, and peace.
In theological terms, theirs is a cry for the coming of the Kingdom of God or Heaven, depending upon which gospel writer you're reading.
We in this country--with our material abundance and our freedoms and our dysfunctional democracy--would do well to pay attention to the protest movements abroad.
People abroad are tired of autocracy. They're tired of oppression. They're tired of slavery under harsh and heartless rulers. They want to know that they will have what they need for good, healthy, and happy lives for themselves and for their children and grandchildren.
It's a worthy desire, even a timeless one, and it's at the heart of the prophetic tradition of biblical religion.
A few Sundays ago, Christians who follow the Sunday lectionary heard the prophet Micah tell God's people, especially those who had forgotten the deepest part of their faith in God and faithfulness to Him as His servant people.
To paraphrase Micah, God requires of all His people--Jews, Christians, Muslims, people of all faiths--that we do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with our God.
Would that Mubarak in Egypt had done so for the last 30 years of his rule. Would that the leaders of Yemen, of Jordan, of Algeria, of Iran, of Afghanistan, of Iraq would do so.
I hope all the world's leaders, including those in this country, are paying attention to protests.
Would that every ruler and every political party heed the words of the prophet Micah and all the prophets and realize that their loyalty is not to party, not to ideology, not to rich contributors, but ultimately and fundamentally to the God of justice.
Those in positions of authority are God's servant on earth, and as such, they are also servants of God's beloved children. All of them.
When we see that kind of governance--and perhaps it's beginning abroad--we'll see the Kingdom of God or Heaven emerging on earth, which is God's intent.