Jesus came into Galilee announcing God’s good news, saying, “Now is the time! Here comes God’s kingdom! Change your hearts and lives, and trust this good news!” – Mark 1:15
There are a several approaches to sharing my thoughts today. They involve reading, viewing, and participating. In the end you may find you want to take them all.
- First, I will invite you to watch the WFPC virtual worship service from March 7. If not the whole thing then at least Rebekah’s message and my song. Her message (on “Thy Kingdom Come” – at the 18:30 mark) was easily one of the more powerful I have heard in the past year. Or, to quote a Baptist friend who attends our church, “This was – unqualified – the pastor’s best message I’ve heard her preach…”
- Another invitation would be to commit to exploring some of these questions more deeply via this blog or delving into some of my books.
- The most involved approach would be to join our church, and then attend the class I teach every Sunday morning. The enthusiasm for faith from this group of disciples, the insight, the love shared, the deep discussion – they all contribute so much to my ongoing journey.
The song – which I hope you all will listen to – came out of something I often do when I am reading familiar scriptures. I write a paraphrase that emerges out of, speaks to, and helps build, my own understanding, reflecting both what I have learned and what I am learning. This time the insight came with music too. I don’t do a lot of songwriting, but sometimes – and it is a wonderful experience – words and music come together in my head and I am able to come up with something like this.
“Good Father, who makes your home in heaven” (at the 14:40 mark).
The Good Conversation:
In class we talked more about what we mean by “Thy Kingdom Come.” We all have preconceived notions, understandings, visions of what “The Kingdom of God” looks like. However, while I certainly want to talk about what those are and where they came from, I decided we should start with Jesus.
I know! Jesus! How often do we take off into ideas and understandings and orthodoxies and assertions without first taking the opportunity to say, “I wonder what Jesus has to say about this?”
It turns out that Jesus talked a lot about the subject. One of his favorite story-starter lines was, “The Kingdom of Heaven is like….” and then he goes on to share a parable. Time and again.
It turns out that Christ’s vision of the Kingdom didn’t tend to involve a conquering messiah mounted on a war-horse waving a mighty sword. No streets paved with gold, no militaristic images, no riches for all his followers.
Jesus always tends to land in the regions of grace, enthusiastic searching for what is lost, forgiveness, growth in faith, mercy, restoration, celebration joy, the fullness of life.
That turns out to be a lot for a Monday morning. At least enough for today.
In love, and because love is the currency of the kingdom Jesus came to establish – DEREK