What if? –we stopped projecting our stuff on to God and just discover who He as He reveals Himself to each of us? What if? –we just listened to God tell us what He wants for us instead of telling Him what we want? What if? –we dropped our very human inability to be consistent and loving and giving and just let God show us how to be?
What if it were true that we can enter the kingdom within, around and among us here on earth? What if it were true that the Holy Spirit dwells as a potential within us, that we only need to begin to love God to begin to realize this potential that we all have? What if it were true that we are already a part of the beloved community, as described by Martin Luther King that all we need to do is to learn to live in love to be a part of it? What if we believed and lived this truth?
What if everything that Jesus taught were true—that we could live in love here on earth and be connected to every other human being through love, not the philial love of friendship, not the romantic love of marriage, but in the everyday, but amazing agape love of Christ? What if we lived in the beloved community? We would not just be helping those people in need, but connecting to them with love. We would need to hear their stories in order to know them at all. We would be forgiving anyone who mistreats us because we know they, too, were once born as an innocent child and that someone or something twisted their lives. We would know that God would still welcome them, be they a prisoner, a cheater, a liar, a coveter, an envier, an adulterer– as soon as they turned back to Him, just as He welcomes each one of us.
What if each us has unlived potentials within us that are realized once the Holy Spirit is given by us the place of guide and savior? Another way of saying the same thing is that they are realized once we dwell in the mind of Christ.
How would our day begin if we lived in the beloved community? In gratitude. In praise. In worship. in study. In prayer. And then each person we met would be the recipient of God’s love– through us. Every single person we met that day, the people at every event we attended would receive God’s love through us just by our being present, by our knowing that we and they are a part of the beloved community.
We wouldn’t have to preach that love, we only need to love others for them to get the message of love. We don’t have to say the right words, we only have to express our interest in the other and the love just naturally flows. We don’t have to agree with the other, we only have to validate his life and views and the love flows out of us. We may be the vehicle that brings the message, but the Holy Spirit is the one touching the other person just as He has touched us.
Our words aren’t powerful, our presence in God is. Our actions aren’t powerful in and of themselves. It’s only with God that we make any impact at all. What if –we realize that we, like Paul, will still cringe about our own thoughts and feelings; that we will still, as long as we are here on this earth, have some human tendencies? In the kingdom we no longer have to do anything about them—the Holy Spirit is making up for everything we do and say and amplifying it in the receiving person so that it will be heard by him or her in language that they can understand. We can continue to lift up all these instances where we do what we don’t want to do and don’t do what we want to God, but in no way are they held against us, nor do we hang on to them. We are free of that, thanks be to God!
If any of this teaching about the kingdom from Jesus were true, we would be living in the kingdom, still in the world, but definitely not of the world. This is not just an opinion we hold about ourselves compared to non-believers, it is a lived experience. There we would be so tied to God, that we could not do anything that would be egocentric or on our own decision. Where we end and Christ begins in us is no longer a clear dividing line. We have totally merged our lives with His.
We would live in gratitude for our lives and everything we’ve been given, gratitude for our companions along the way, for the purpose we are given, for every single thing we have ever experienced. We would be content to just love and serve the Lord.
Questions to ponder over the week: How sure are you of the truth of Jesus’ teachings about the kingdom? Would you surrender everything to make them come true in your life? Do you think that any human being has the potential to live in the kingdom here on earth? Do you think that you do?
Blessing for the week: May we be the people of God who live in His kingdom here on earth. May we be so full of God’s love that it just naturally flows out of us to everyone we meet. May we help realize His kingdom on earth.