Friday, January 4, 2013

The Kingdom

"Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning." - Winston Churchill 

     Just as there are two ways to reach home, perhaps there are two ways of reaching the kingdom of God. The first would be to travel around the world and through potentially eons of time until one reached the messianic millennium. The second would be to never leave.
     The kingdom is that ambiguous little thing that kept popping up all over the gospels. Whatever it was or is or will be, God thought that it was important enough to warrant a trip to planet earth to tell us about. All too often, I think we might look through the wrong end of the binoculars when it comes to Jesus's first coming. If his only purpose was to die and be raised in order to break the curse of sin for all mankind, why didn't he allow Herod to murder him as a child? Salvation might have come thirty years earlier. Obviously, the messiah's life and teaching are supremely important in the grand scheme of history. With the physical life of his son, we might argue that God began the kingdom of heaven on earth. Jesus did not lie when he said "the kingdom of heaven is now" for the kingdom was now. The mustard seed of the kingdom of heaven, planted and nurtured by the life of the carpenter from Nazareth, has been growing for the past two thousand years into a sturdy young tree. Indeed, time will only tell when the growth of the mustard tree will be complete, but perhaps many of us have been waiting for something we already have. We wait for God's commands to be written on our hearts without realizing that many of the commands already have been written onto our hearts with the Holy Spirit prompting us toward righteousness, where our ancestors relied on the commands written in stone. 
     Like the Chestertonian traveler who leaves Bristol and journeys around the world to a strange land of rolling hills, tamed dragons, and peculiar people under tall, magical, black hats, only to find that he has returned to Bristol with all its top hats and motorcars; so too, we should rediscover the kingdom of God not as something to be expected, but something to be lived out. Every plant that the Father did not plant will surely be uprooted, but the roots of the kingdom of heaven run deep.

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