Psalm 24:1 The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it. TNIV
During convention we will have an opportunity to grasp a new vision of the depth and breadth of God’s Kingdom, God’s preferred future for the whole created order. We will come to comprehend the profound implications of the claim that “the earth is the Lord’s and everything in it.
God’s Kingdom. My guess is that most of us have little idea what that even means. What is a kingdom really? Can we even relate to a sovereign power that asks for all of our allegiance? I’m assuming, considering today’s political climate, that this style of leadership wouldn’t appeal to the masses, and quite possibly not to many Christians either. But God, in God’s inspired text, communicates about this everlasting, all-encompassing kingdom that is powerfully present today and will be in its fullness tomorrow.
Back when I was in college, I heard a lecture on this kingdom stuff. What peaked my attention was when I learned that it was not connected intrinsically with the church. These had two different purposes and they were not equal in any sense.
I had understood the kingdom as being dependent on the church, as more fully explained here. “As the Church grows, the Kingdom grows and is extended in the world. Many Protestant theologians have taught a modified form of this interpretation… As the Church takes the Gospel into all the world, it extends the Kingdom of God. An optimistic version holds that it is the mission of the Church to win the entire world to Christ and thus transform the world into the Kingdom of God.” (George E. Ladd)
I believe this vision puts a lot of pressure on followers of Jesus to be of the work of growing the Kingdom… yet that is not our job. We are invited to enter into the Kingdom not as if it were a group of people or place to call form a habitat, but to accept God’s rule, reign, and sovereignty in
our lives, and in that way begin to see where the Kingdom is at work all around us.
I began to pray to be able to see the Kingdom work that wasn’t exactly centered in the church, and I even wondered if it could be found in non-traditional, non-Christian places. The Bible does allude to the Kingdom of Christ and the Kingdom of God separately and theologians state that they are synonymous, but I wondered: What if? What if God’s power and reign were present and transforming people and communities all over the world? What would that look like?
I don’t believe I needed to go that far to find people that seek Spirit, truth and light, and live a life of Kingdom power… you can see God’s rule within them, and they would not call themselves Christians. Goodness, sometimes I prefer not to call myself a Christian either!
I was guided by God to learn from them how they revered and feared this Greater Power in their life… learning how to listen to Spirit in ways foreign to the church… cultivating mindful, careful living because they know that their thoughts and words and actions have power to heal or harm. They see light and darkness around them, and they choose light, while not giving power to the darkness by fearing or running from it. They see the role of darkness with respect and give it no more attention.
This is what I aspire to when I consider God’s rule in my life. And without fail for me, Jesus is my companion on this journey. Seek first the Kingdom of God…
Janet Trevino-Elizarraraz is an Anabaptist at heart & in mind, yet her journey has moved her to seek the Kingdom where the church is absent. She walk sthis path of solitude with her husband, Roberto & their four beautiful children, 7 and under. As one of our regular convention bloggers, Janet invites you to open your heart to God’s Greater Kingdom. f you would like to respond to this post, feel free to contact Janet at firstname.lastname@example.org.