Thoughts on the Reign of God

The Reign of God

“Thy kingdom come,” as we say in the Our Father, clearly means that the Kingdom is something that enters into this world, or, as Jesus puts it elsewhere, the Reign of God “is close at hand” (Mark 1:15, Matthew 4:17).  Don’t project it onto a later world.  It’s a reality that breaks into this world whenever people act as God would act.

When that can happen in terms of structures or groups, then you have a taste of the Kingdom descending to earth.  To be realistic and honest, this seldom happens with more than “two or three” rightly gathered (Matthew 18:20), but they are the critical mass, or “leaven” who can and will change the world.  Institutions as institutions can seldom operate at a fully Kingdom level, except on paper and by occasional courageous decisions. . . .

. . . I hope you’ve met at least one Kingdom person in your life.  They are surrendered and trustful people.  You sense that their life is okay at the core.  They have given control to Another and are at peace, which paradoxically allows them to calmly be in control.  A Kingdom person lives for what matters, for life in its deepest and lasting sense.  There’s a kind of gentle absolutism about their life-style, an inner freedom.  Kingdom people feel like grounded yet spacious people at the same time, the best of conservative and the best of progressive at the same time.

Kingdom people are anchored by their awareness of God’s love deep within them and deep within everyone else too.  They happily live on a level playing field, where even God has come to “pitch his tent” (the literal translation of John 1:14). —Richard Rohr, adapted from Jesus’ Plan for a New World, pp. 110-111

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Less

“Whoever welcomes this child in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me; for the least among all of you is the greatest.” (Excerpt from Luke 9:43 – 53)

If you want to be great, get small.  If you want to be good, get small. If you want to be like Jesus, use power differently than everybody else does.  Get rid of it.

I have become truly irritated with the way people argue that “Less is more.”  That is such a sneaky way of praising more and elevating it to a stature it does not deserve.  More is a problem.  Like so many parts of our economic system, more is a tyrant, an oppressive tyrant, one who ruins your life with full closets and anxiety about getting them filled in more and better ways.  You know your marching orders: More, faster, sooner, bigger, better.  I wonder how obedience to these values is going for you?  Big and more are great friends.  Small and less are also.

Less is not more.  Less is less.  And less is small in the ways of the tyrant, and large in the way of Jesus.  Less isn’t just about closets either.  It is about experiences, emails, fuel, friends, opportunities, books read, movies seen.  Beautiful clothes and marvelous experiences are not wrong in themselves.  They are actually wonderful.  One at a time.  Don’t let the tyrants tell you that “less is more.” —Reflection by Donna Schaper, from StillSpeaking

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