KINGDOM COME

 

 

Jesus… answered, “The kingdom of God doesn’t come by counting the days on the calendar. Nor when someone says, ‘Look here!’ or, ‘There it is!’ And why? Because God’s kingdom is already among you.”  Luke 17:21 (MSG)

 

As a child I was bemused when preachers said, “If God’s purpose in saving you was taking you to heaven, you would have died at the altar.”  At the time, it seemed to me that most people I knew were content just to have a heavenly entrance pass.  That was enough.  Don’t ask for any further commitment, and don’t make us uncomfortable.  I was gratified as an adult to learn that there was so much more to being a Christian than just dying and going to heaven.  In fact, there was a unique life assignment offered to each one of Jesus’ disciples.

Jesus spoke often of the Kingdom of God and described it in terms of “righteousness, joy, and peace in the Holy Spirit” (Romans 14:17) and not “heaven some day.”  And then he said that the Kingdom of God is HERE.  It’s not “pie in the sky bye and bye.”  So, as citizens of the Kingdom who have been given a mandate to go out and make disciples and to bear fruit, can you imagine a more opportune time than this to reflect the character and love of our King?

Think of all the ways we can fulfill the Great Commandment (loving God and our neighbor, Matt. 22:36-40) in these uncertain times.  Remembering that since we are now part of the Kingdom, we no longer belong to ourselves but are the King’s servants who humbly impart joy and peace to neighbors who may be caught up in the stress of the times.  We are open to creative ways to disperse laughter and hope to the anxious.  We are available to offer practical assistance in whatever ways we see because the Kingdom is NOW, and we are citizens of the Kingdom.

We can move out of that tiny, restrictive world called Self and into the Kingdom which exalts the King and in which we are called to love.  The time is now.  The Kingdom is here.

 

Father, open our eyes.  Who can we love; who can we comfort; who can we walk with today?  Show us, in Jesus’ name.  AMEN.

ARMORED UP

Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.  Ephesians 6:11

 

 

This morning in chapel the Bishop gave a whole new twist to the analogy of God’s armor.  Remember, there’s the helmet of salvation, the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, shoes of peace, and the sword of the Spirit, God’s Word.

The helmet of salvation guards our thoughts and protects the mind so that it processes and applies God’s truth.  We typically wear belts around the middle parts of our bodies for aesthetic and practical reasons.  Truth is both beautiful and holds all our theology together.  A breastplate, righteousness, protects our hearts from all the things that can spoil and destroy the life of Christ within.  We walk in peace as God’s children, and God’s Word, the sword, is two-edged—both protecting and reprimanding us.

When we are children, we love to play dress-up.  My granddaughters have all enjoyed taking various pieces of clothing from my closet and dressers to play grown-up.  They imitate me and their mothers.  Play is a child’s work to help in developing character traits and personality.  When our children and grandchildren wear our clothing, they are processing through play what they will become.

So here we get to the armor.  The whole object of our Christian journey is to glorify God and to become like Jesus.  How better to do that than to dress like him?  Jesus IS our salvation, our truth, our righteousness, our peace and has taught us to use that sword in growing into his likeness.  The more we wear the armor, the more it becomes like a second skin, and the more we become like Jesus.

The armor of the Lord not only helps us to stand against the wicked intentions of the devil, but it assists us in being transformed more and more into the image of our Lord and Master, Jesus Christ.  If you’re not wearing it, stop everything, and go put it on right now.

 

 

Father, show us the joy that awaits us as we are changed into the likeness of your Son, Jesus Christ.  AMEN.