Heaher Reichgott asks, "What does the sovereignty of God mean to you?"

I hesitate to answer that question because "sovereignty" is actually not a word that I normally use in conjunction with my understanding of God. The word has for me certain connotations of power and control that don't really jibe with my understanding God as acting through persuasive love rather than coercion. I prefer to think of God a as a co-creator and companion on my journey of life, rather than as a Ruler of the Universe.

For similar reasons, I never really cared for the word "Lord" as a name for God, because that term has for me certain patriarchal, feudal, and hierarchical implications.

However, Dominic Crossan has pointed out that there are other ways of looking at this kind of terminology, especially if we consider the historical context. For example, he points out that when Jesus spoke of the "Kingdom of God", he was making a politically provocative statement, since he was envisioning what the world as he knew it would be like if God rather than Caesar were in charge. Similarly, when the early members of the Jesus movement said that Jesus was "Lord", they were also making a politically provocative statement, since this title contrasted Jesus's Lordship to the Lordship of Caesar.

In an age when kings and lords and hierarchical institutions were accepted as simply part of the natural order of society, then Jesus and his early followers challenged the status quo by using the paradigms that they understood--kings and lords. It was appropriate to their own time and circumstances. In our age, on the other hand, the terminology of kings and lords seems rather quaint, but we often cling to those words in religious contexts anyway because of the power of the traditions that lie behind them. But it is also worth considering whether such language hinders as much as it helps, especially if we don't consider the context from which it arose.

A absolute monarch can be said to "love his people", but divine love is not like that sort of condescending kingly love, and I find the analogy off-putting. To me, it is God's loving call that sustains the world, not God's supposed power. I envision God's "power" as being of a different order from that which typically characterizes hierarchical human relations, because it is non-coercive and persuasive; nor do I believe that God simply withholds coercive power provisionally while hanging that power over us as a means of last resort. An absolute monarch might rely on persuasion as a tool at his disposal, but he or she always has the use of force with which to back the persuasion up. God doesn't work that way, I believe.

God's non-coercive power, I think, lies in the very fact of Divine participation in everything that happens. Unlike a worldly monarch, either absolute or constitutionally limited, God is not to be held distant and aloof from the commoners. God is immanent. God gets his or her hands dirty. God feels our pain and shares in our joys. God is with us--in ways that a sovereign never could be.

Yes, I believe that God has a transcendent nature. But this is not kingly transcendence, but rather a transcendent lure of continually unfolding love. God is beckoning to us with the power of persuasion. "C'mon", God says to us. "This way."