Tag Archives: kingdom of God

Advent 2013: The Way Home

This post is part of The December Synchroblog and part of Christine Sine’s annual Advent synchroblog, both of which invite bloggers to reflect on the idea of “coming home” and what that means to them during the season of Advent. The bloggers who participate will be listed at the bottom of this post for you as they become available. 

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The word “home” brings to mind a feeling that is hard to describe … it has to do with belonging and being loved and relaxed and letting one’s guard down and feeling safe. Sometimes home is found in a particular place such as a state or a city or a house, and other times it is found in the company of others or in a particular activity such as painting or riding a horse.

When my son comes home from college and we give each other a great big hug that lasts 10 or 15 seconds I get the feeling that I’ve found my way home. At times I experience that “coming home” feeling when I realize that someone “gets me”.  Other times I feel like I am home when I hear a particular song or am in the process of creating or when I’m hanging out with friends.  And sometimes I find my way home in a simple act of giving or listening or helping.

Whether the feeling of home is brought about by people, places or activities it is a blessing that is like a deep, refreshing breath for our souls … it feels right and there is a lightness that occurs within.

Thinking about the holidays and home reminds me of the sermon “Are You Going Home For Christmas?” by Frederick Buechner in which he talks about what it means to be truly home.

“I receive maybe three or four hundred letters a year from strangers who tell me that the books I have spent the better part of my life writing have one way or another saved their lives, in some cases literally. I am deeply embarrassed by such letters. I think, if they only knew that I am a person more often than not just as lost in the woods as they are, just as full of darkness, in just as desperate need. I think, if I only knew how to save my own life. They write to me as if I am a saint, and I wonder how I can make clear to them how wrong they are.

But what I am beginning to discover is that, in spite of all that, there is a sense in which they are also right. In my books, and sometimes even in real life, I have it in me at my best to be a saint to other people, and by saint I mean life-giver, someone who is able to bear to others something of the Holy Spirit, whom the creeds describe as the Lord and Giver of Life. Sometimes, by the grace of God, I have it in me to be Christ to other people. And so, of course, have we all-the life-giving, life-saving, and healing power to be saints, to be Christs, maybe at rare moments even to ourselves.

I believe that it is when that power is alive in me and through me that I come closest to being truly home, come closest to finding or being found by that holiness that I may have glimpsed in the charity and justice and order and peace of other homes I have known, but that in its fullness was always missing. I cannot claim that I have found the home I long for every day of my life, not by a long shot, but I believe that in my heart I have found, and have maybe always known, the way that leads to it … I believe that home is Christ’s kingdom, which exists both within us and among us as we wend our prodigal ways through the world in search of it.”

May we all find our way home during this season of Advent by spreading love and kindness wherever we go.

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check out the other synchrobloggers

 

Think on this…

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I found this at Kingdom Grace (I love her blog) and thought it was one of the most beautiful things I’ve read in a while.  Here’s hoping it is a blessing and inspiration to you as well.  (It was written by Baxter Kruger)

As the light of Jesus shines into our darkness, we will not be yearning to escape the ordinary, we will be stunned and full of wonder at the ordinary presence of the blessed Trinity in our humanity.

Heaven is not a bodiless state in an invisible place. Heaven is the life of the Father, Son and Spirit coming to full and abiding expression in our human existence, and the earth and the cosmos are filled with the life and love and fellowship of the blessed Trinity.

Meantime we grieve over the self-centeredness, over the lust and greed, the social and racial, environmental and political and religious injustices that run wild around us, wreaking such havoc in our lives.

And we fast and pray for the Holy Spirit to reveal the truth to us in our darkness.

We pray for people to be given eyes to see and that the way things are in Jesus Christ would indeed emerge more and more in our human existence.

 

The Kingdom of God Is At Hand

handThis post is part of a synchroblog on The Kingdom of God.  Links to other participants can be found at the end of this post.

At daybreak Jesus went out to a solitary place. The people were looking for him and when they came to where he was, they tried to keep him from leaving them. But he said, “I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent.” And he kept on preaching in the synagogues of Judea. (Luke 4:42-44)

As you read through the gospel accounts you will find that the message that Jesus is always teaching, that he instructs his disciples to teach, and that his Apostle to the Gentiles teaches is about the Kingdom of God (also known as the Kingdom of Heaven).  In fact, God’s Kingdom is mentioned over 100 times throughout the four gospels and more than 25 times throughout the rest of the New Testament.

So, what was the good news of the Kingdom of God?

First, we find Jesus proclaiming that the good news is that the Kingdom of God is at hand.  Now, we might think that means it is something that will arrive in the near future; in fact, some bibles even translate the scripture to say “the kingdom of God is near.”  But the original language referred to something that was immediately available, something that one could reach out and touch (something “at hand”).  So, it must be noted that Jesus was saying the Kingdom of God had arrived…that was the good news.

Then we find Jesus telling what the Kingdom of God is like.  According to Jesus The Kingdom of God is like many things…

a farmer sowing seed,

a man hunting treasure,

a woman kneading dough,

 fishermen casting a net,

a man forgiven a debt,

a wedding guest who forgot his jacket,

virgins waiting for a bridegroom,

a landowner being generous.

The kingdom is like a seed, pearl, fish, banquet, vineyard, yeast.  

 It’s random, hidden, surprising, disruptive and unexpected.

It begins so small that it could go unnoticed.

It’s something you receive, enter, cultivate, seek, lay hold of.

You wait for it, prepare for it and stay ready for it.

It’s something of great value and something you need to discover.

It blows up the status quo,

reverses values,

turns expectations on their head.

It’s a celebration, a party, a feast.

And you’re invited to attend. 

It’s a church that gives a fresh meaning to the words “offering plate”, a child drinking clean water for the first time, and football fans cheering for the opposing team.

The Kingdom of God is at hand.

(Note:  I hope you take the time to click on the links for the “church”  that gives a fresh meaning to the words offering plate, the “child drinking” clean water for the first time, and the “football fans” cheering for the opposing team.  I think they are all great examples of the Kingdom of God that is at hand.)

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Check out the other participants in this synchroblog.

Susan Barnes (Christian currently attending a Baptist church) of Abooklook on My kingdom goes

Liz Dyer (follower of Jesus Christ) of Grace Rules on The Kingdom of God is at Hand

Timothy Victor (Christian) of Tim Victor’s Musings on The reign of Godde

Ronald van der Bergh (Dutch Reformed) of Ronalds Footnotes on Notes on “the Kingdom of God” in the New Testament

Nic Paton (fundamentalist, charismatic, liberationist, apophatic, heterodox) of soundandsilence on The “Kingdom”: of God?

Beth Patterson (Non churched follower of Christ) of Virtual Tea House on What it’s like rather than what it is

Jeff Goins (Non-denominational Christian) of Pilgrimage of the Heart on The Kingdom of God: Now and Not Yet

Phil Wyman (Non-denominational Christian) of Square No More on Jesus as the Archetype Shaman (Part 2): A Nostalgia for Paradise

Stephen Hayes (Orthodox Christian) of Khanya on Kingdom, power and glory

Bryan Riley (Christ follower) of Charis Shalom on The Kingdom of God

Andrew Hendrikse of Fake expression of the Unknown on The Kingdom of God is…

Ellen Haroutunian of Seeking our Living Orthodoxy on thoughts on the Kingdom