“The kingdom of God is available to you in the here and the now. But the question is whether you are available to the kingdom.” – Thich Nhat Hanh
Asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, he said in reply, “The coming of the kingdom of God cannot be observed, and no one will announce, ‘Look, here it is,’ or, ‘There it is.’ For behold, the kingdom of God is among you.”
According to the Gospel of Mark, the very first thing Jesus said as he started his ministry was: “This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand” (Mark 1:15).
A foundational message in Jesus’ ministry was the coming of the kingdom of God.
But it wasn’t something to wait for.
It was something to become aware of and partake in.
It was already here but somehow missed my many.
The word “kingdom” doesn’t translate well in today’s world.
Kings and the way that they reigned are concepts from the time of Jesus.
He equated God to a loving ruler concerned with the needs of all people, especially the poor and the oppressed.
This was definitely not the way of most kings in his day.
In the current time, some translate this idea of “kingdom of God” as the “kin-dom of God.”
Trying to put into English what Jesus was saying in either Aramaic or Greek is not so simple.
Social psychologist and priest Diarmuid O’Murchu translates “kingdom of God” as the “Companionship of Empowerment” in which communities are empowered to work together for justice and wholeness – not revenge.
It was a counter-cultural movement that O’Murchu describes as a “radical alternative characterized by empowerment from the bottom up rather than power from the top down” (Christian Life – Essay 2).
This Spirit of unconditional love, compassion and wholeness is already secretly at work like leaven in dough.
It is foundational.
When we awaken to this reality and agree to cooperate in the process, the kingdom of God comes alive to us.
This is the work we are all called to take part in as Christians.
But many, I’m afraid, have made their Christianity only about beliefs, something Jesus spoke little about.
Many have missed his radical message of God’s unconditional love for all and what it calls each of us to do.
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Remember: God loves you!