Matthew 13:44-50 contains three short examples of the Kingdom/Nation/Worldview of God. The kingdom of God is not always easy to describe, especially if it is not part of our every day language. In church, we sometimes here references to the Kingdom of God, but we too often relegate it to something in heaven, or something in the past when kings and queens were more common. I try to remind myself that today it's probably better to have our children know it as the "Nation of God." That also runs the risk of people thinking of Palestine-Israel today, or of an "United States of Christianity." But it at least ties this concept of God's Kingdom to our nation today, which was Jesus' original intent. The people in Jesus' day were looking and seeking a way out of Roman rule, and to be their own independent kingdom again like the days of David, Solomon, Hezekiah and Josiah. But Jesus had a different understanding of God's hope for humanity.
Jesus understood God's goal as a kingdom that would reorient everyone to the basics of love, inclusion, community, and peace. There would be no need for nation to fight nation. There would be no need for conquering or independence. Instead, people would be interdependent. You might live in a certain locale, but you would value, trust, and work with all your neighbors. This understanding of God's kingdom rocked the Jews to their very core. No longer was independence from Rome a primary goal. No longer was ethnic purity and genealogy a primary value. No longer were they trying to have the "best" God. Instead, they were to start living as if their God truly mattered to everyone. And this was such a relief of good news that they were to be excited. They were to be so excited when they figured out that they didn't have to go to battle, or be depressed if Roman's happen to be ruling. They could always be happy that the truest way of living was simply following God, no matter who they were, or where they found themselves. Even if they were sick or poor, God still loved them! That was good news. Such good news that it would reorient everything in their life. Sort of like a "rebirth." And they didn't need to go to the temple with sacrifices to be right with God. But they could go to the Jordan River and be baptized by John to show that they were cleansed from an old understanding of life into a new understanding of life.
Shine On page 206 and a similar theme in Spark 304 (of being excited about God's Kingdom and whether we accept the invitation).
Daily Prayers to recite, remember and live by:
Lords Prayer (198 in Shine On, 278 in Spark)
Psalm 23 (129 in Shine On, 160 in Spark)
Events & Evites:
Tory - Pastor of Children and Youth Faith Formation.