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Can You See It?
By: Rachelle Hamlin
Fort Fairfield Journal, May 28, 2014Most of the time life gets boring and we feel that Christ’s kingdom is far away and the wait is too long. We start longing to “see him” or to “go to Heaven.” We pine for “his return” and reach out for any “evidence” that His kingdom exists, really. I mean, that it’s REAL! We get tired of waiting for promises of a purer, more acceptable world to live in. This results in church services designed to pump us up. Well, did Marx call religion an opiate! It can serve to keep us from going mad with fury at the sight of evil kingdoms not of the One we dream to see on a throne.
We have it on Jesus’ authority that two key factors explain the kingdom of G-d. First, in John’s gospel, Jesus told his disciples that the kingdom of G-d does not come through observation. You cannot see it coming and you cannot see it when it is here among us. Seldom is this preached on or taught in our churches because it is almost the last thing that anyone wants to hear or think about. In fact, we spend much energy telling each other how we saw things (miracles, answered prayer, spiritual testimonies, etc.) that prove that G-d’s Kingdom can be seen IF you look in the right places at the right times or in the right way. This frustrates many.
Miracles and other spiritual phenomena are not evidence that G-d rules and reigns. They are evidence that He exists as a Supreme Being. Jesus plainly said His kingdom does not come by observation. Kings must have subjects or they are delusional. Christ rules hearts and minds in private relationships that are strictly voluntary, personal and spiritual. Believing this would radically change what we preach and teach each other. Books would come off store shelves and many a TV show would go off the air. Certain songs would seem irrelevant and some church services would change drastically.
The second scripture that clarifies this is where St. John records Jesus’ teaching about how to pray. First we address the Father with respect… “Hallowed be thy name.” Next we ask for the kingdom this way; “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on Earth as it is in heaven.” This is the key to the entire point of G-d becoming our King. There are two kinds of will operating in heaven. First, G-d has Divine will. Second, angels and saints have sanctified wills. Having been tested, they now choose only to do and be what the Father wants out of love. This never varies and never will. So essentially all you see in heaven is God and His redeemed creation living peacefully in the felicity of one pure will.
But here’s the thing – Jesus told us to ask for that to happen here, calling it Kingdom!
The only way for it to happen here is for each person to know what God wants of us and do it. This is how He gets to be King. The will of G-d is no mystery. He inscribed it by his finger on tablets of stone. Ten commands tell what He wants, and Jesus simplified it further saying, “Love God and love thy neighbor as thyself.” If this was done by every human being on Earth, then G-d would be King and Earth would be participating in the Kingdom of Heaven right here and now. Here is a crucial difference in reality, one that our churches seldom articulate. The Kingdom of G-d does not come by observation, but it does come by participation of one person after another.
When someone loves God with all their heart, soul and might (first command) you can see them walking around but you can’t see what is in their heart. When a man does not murder (fifth command) when tempted to, you see him walking around, but he bears no sign that he did not murder when he could have. When a girl refuses the advances of a married man (ninth command) you may see her at home or at work, but you cannot observe the trial and trauma of her faith towards God. All our yesses to God’s commands are matters of the heart and mind. No one observed us as we yielded our hearts, souls and wills to the thousands of tests and trials we went through as we demonstrated before God and angels that Christ is our King.The Song of Solomon puts it this way: “My love is a garden enclosed.” What goes on in our garden, stays in our garden. It’s between our King and us. His Kingdom comes without observation.
It does come however with participation. Participation is something we do not have to wait to get someday. It is not a one-time thing. We can have as much participation as we want whenever we wish; daily, weekly, monthly, year after year. Participation in the kingdom is the secret of saints from forever past to forever future. Kingdom joys satisfy throughout Earthly life and no one can take our self-respect away from us, not even death by fire or firing squads. We can fail in kingdom ways at times but each success is a permanent victory inscribed by our love on the heart of Our King of Hearts.
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