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#13: The Kingdom of God

Heaven on Earth...

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Kingdom of God. Noun. Christ’s mediatorial authority, or his rule on earth.

One night our group took an adventure. We rode an outbound tram to the most modern yet regal movie theaters I had ever seen. It. Was. Huge. Unfortunately, the sole movies that were in English had already begun or looked ultra sketchy. We decided to head back to the hotel instead. I’m sure we found either Monty Python or some hilarious YouTube videos when we got back.

On the way from the theater to our tram stop we walked by a river. It was rather full of algae and other exciting, unearthly creatures, much like our lake back at school. It looked like it was originally the site of beautiful postcard images, with high brick walls built on the sides, leading down to river’s edge. The sky began to emit a light drizzle, and we quickened our pace to outsmart an impending storm. As the group hurried towards the enclosed tram stop, a few lingered behind, transfixed on something peculiar. Ever the curious one, I retraced my steps and peered over the brick ledge to see what was worthy of being spit upon by the heavens.

This was what I saw.

I am not sure what drove this magnificent swan to live in such a swampy dump, but the image hit me somewhere below the collar bone.

Is this not the image of the kingdom of God? Is this not a picture of Christ, and his expectations for us? Is this not a picture of the Gospel?

We humans are in a pile of rubbish on our own, called sin. We are stuck. Any attempt to get out on our own results in failure. We need someone from the outside, someone who has not been polluted, to reach in and pull us out. This is what Jesus did. And yet, while Jesus did come and die, that was not all He did. He came and redeemed. And He did so incarnate. He came close, even at the risk of His own reputation and physical well-being.

The kingdom of God is not perfection. It is a place of pain, suffering, and some remaining garbage which God is in the process of removing. It is spoken of in Scripture as having such worth, because it is priceless. Nothing human can redeem us. Only Christ can. He sacrificed His life and paid with His blood.

For us to bring the kingdom of God to earth, we must be willing to be like Jesus. We must be willing to be like this swan. We cannot remain in our sterile worlds living good lives and never risking anything. To love is to risk. God is a God of love and redemption. Jesus came to bring healing to the broken and life to the dying. He did not come so that we could live good lives while others endure pain.

Often, when we think of those in need, we envision bread lines trailing out the doors of inner-city shelters. Yet God has called us to love our neighbor. And our neighbor could be anyone. One group of people in need is immigrants. These are beautiful individuals who have come into the country seeking rest and solace. They have come to pursue dreams, or to seek sanctuary, or to reunite with family. Yet we often don an anti-outsider hat when we consider immigration. We fear that the economy will plummet or that our hard-earned tax money will be taken advantage of. We think of them in terms of liability rather than in terms of love.

We do the same to the homeless, to plummeting school districts, to single mothers, to the elderly, to people of different faith backgrounds. We fail to see them as broken individuals made in God’s image. We fail to stand by their sides, even if doing so means jumping into the mess of their lives. But if we don’t help them, how will they get out? Injustice isn’t choosey, but those who can choose to stay out of its nets do so.

To help the other, we must be like this swan. We may not maintain our pristine reputation, pocketbook, or agenda, but we will be bringing the kingdom of God – redemption – to our world.

Posted by klewis91 22:25 Tagged strasbourg Comments (0)

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