I’m back. I have been to the mountain top. Several, in fact. I’m having trouble explaining my experience in the Holy Land, but I do feel different: clear, motivated, impatient. Don’t take this the wrong way, but I feel like Matthew’s Jesus. Not in perfection or divinity, certainly, but in his absolute confidence that the world of God’s dreams was at hand if we only dare to see it, to allow ourselves to be transformed. This, for Matthew’s Jesus, is the kingdom of God.
We don’t usually use this language at Church in the Cliff. It smacks of hierarchy, patriarchy, and privilege. However, it holds some promise that other terms, such as kindom or family, do not. Even though we do not live under a monarchy, we do understand it immediately as a way of orienting our lives to a particular order. More importantly, it is a definitively political term. God’s dreams for our lives are not just an abstraction about what happens to our disembodied souls, but a concern for how we live our lives now and what kind of society we create to bring about justice. “Kingdom” is an eschatological word in Matthew: it is about the world toward which we live.
The Beatitudes (Matthew 5.1-12) are a description of what that world looks like. The kingdom is the birthright of those who are poor in spirit, the gentle, those who make peace, and those who pursue justice no matter the cost. The kingdom is a place where justice and compassion overflow. In the kingdom, the grieving find comfort. In the kingdom, we find our deepest longings made real. In the end, God’s deepest longing – whether we call it a kingdom, a realm, a kindom, a family, a household, or a dream – is not about a man with a crown, but about the least of the least being lifted up.
The good news is that this not something we have to wait for. No Second Coming required. Rather, it is something we participate in. The time is fulfilled. The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand. The dreams of God are made real. All we have to do is live like it.
Please join us this Sunday, 11am at Kidd Springs Rec Center, as we discuss the Beatitudes. When do we find ourselves blessed? How do we ensure the rewards to the blessed?
Grace & Peace,