Monday, May 30, 2011
The Extent of the Kingdom - What Quality of Life Ought We to Expect? Opening Paragraph
That the kingdom is at hand is not such a revolutionary idea. What is revolutionary is to find the means to actually enter into the kingdom in this life. When one person says the kingdom is immediately available, “the kingdom is at hand”, he means something quite different than someone else proclaiming the same message. One has a high expectation of a new and beautiful quality of life, while the other expects merely an assurance of heaven and only a future deliverance. Yet, still another believes something in between these two options. The question is whether or not the coming of the kingdom in our life can have a truly revolutionary effect. Can we be free of all self interest and hoarding to such an extent that we live a simple and generous life, a life of daily faith in the provision of the Father? Is the life of communion with God, a life set free by grace and love, available? Is this the life of the few or is this blessed life available to all the followers of Jesus, the single, the married, the young and the old? Can our temperaments be tamed? Can we live without concern for the opinions of others, undisturbed by their judgments and slanders and threats? Can we love our enemies, our enemy-neighbors, even in the midst of the conflict? If we picture the highest ideal, a life fully delivered from the human predicament, and then believe for something even greater, are we describing the kingdom that is available in heaven or the kingdom that is available on earth? To what extent is the kingdom available to us in this life? This is the question. How we answer this question defines the nature of our faith? How we understand the extent of the kingdom that is available in this life determines the trajectory of our life, our expectations, our approach to the faith.