Sunday, 3 February 2008

The nature of the kingdom

This is not the blog that I intended to post today, but my thinking was overtaken by a combination of things that I read this morning.

First and foremost was a passage from Luke’s gospel – the words of Jesus that struck me were:

“The kingdom of God does not come visibly … because the kingdom of God is within you.” (Luke 17:20-21)

This is an extraordinary/revolutionary thought – not because it turned the religious thinking of the time on its head (which it did). But, if the kingdom of God is within us, then we contain/constrain it. We must release it in the lives we lead – our acts and attitudes.

The integrity of the kingdom depends on our integrity.

The demonstration of God’s love depends on our love… And so it goes on.

Then I turned to John V Taylor’s “The Incarnate God” (and I quote at length):

“The true meaning of the prayer ‘Your Kingdom come’ ought to be a subject of supreme importance for all Christians…

…this is why Jesus invented the parable as his particular method of preaching. A parable does not convince people by arguing; it simply offers the truth to their imagination as a gift to be taken by those who have ears to hear and ignored by those who have not…

The second innovation which Jesus brought to his preaching of the Kingdom was to call men and women to live the life of the Kingdom here and now in anticipation of its arrival… we must be like him and reflect his nature in all our relationships.”

All of which left me with a question – summed up by Heschel:

“We cannot endure the heartbreaking splendor of sunsets. Of what avail, then, are opinions, words, dogmas?”

My conclusion, so far as I have one - how we worship through our living will always outweigh the words that we use.


Talking Bear said...

ER, I love this post. Simply said and to the point, unlike my wordy points. The more I study Christ's life and His approach to ministry, I realize that it is all about living. His ability to meet needs in those He encountered was remarkable yet done so simple and to the point. He meets us at our level of insecurity. TB

Tess said...

What a wonderful way of putting it. And I'm not going to use any more words in this comment!