Jesus is Risen but What Happened to the Kingdom?
Jesus is Risen, Alleluia.
Take Action on This Issue
Most of us spent yesterday praising God and singing about the resurrection. But as I sat down this morning to read my Bible I was feeling a little frustrated. What happened to the kingdom, I wondered? The gospels talk constantly about Jesus announcing the kingdom, and even in Acts 1 we read that during the 40 days between his resurrection and ascension he "spoke about the kingdom of God."
Why doesn't it say any more? It would be so much easier for all of us today if Jesus then gave a ten point sermon: "This is the kingdom and this is what you do about it." It would have been so much easier to have a set of rules to live by. But Jesus doesn't give us that.
Even what he does do during those 40 days is rather strange. No neon lights, no CNN interviews, no leading armies against the Roman legions. All we see is a man spending time with his friends -- sharing meals (even cooking breakfast for them), calming their fears, dispelling their doubts, and overturning their confusion -- a little like a flash back to the story of the Garden of Eden where God walked and talked with Adam and Eve. And of course the result is the in-breaking of the kingdom of God as the disciples proclaim the good news and come together in love and harmony, generously sharing not just food, but homes and resources too.
So the question I am still left with is "What does the kingdom look like?" I don't have any clear answers and would love to hear your opinions, but this morning it struck me in a fresh way that maybe the kingdom looks like a God who walks intimately with us as a friend, treating us as beloved children rather than as servants. And maybe the kingdom looks like us living as representatives of that loving God -- loving others as God loved us -- sharing meals and other resources, calming fears, dispelling doubts and in the process laying the foundations for a loving, caring community such as we see portrayed in the book of Acts.
Maybe the silence about what the kingdom looks like is because we cannot find it by adhering to a set of rules like the Ten Commandments. We can only find it by listening to the voice of our loving God and responding through our actions to what the love of God asks of us.
What do you think?
Christine Sine is executive director of Mustard Seed Associates and author of several books including GodSpace: Time for Peace in the Rhythms of Life. She describes herself as a contemplative activist encouraging a way of life that interweaves spiritual practices with concern for justice and environmentalism. She blogs at GodSpace.