“your kingdom come…”

Jesus goes on, teaching us to declare, “your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”  This declaration for his kingdom is one that is affirming a distinct future hope.  It is a declaration that God will, in human history, fulfill his covenant promises and establish his kingdom in fullness.  It holds in its simple, few words the eschatological promise that their suffering would end and that their hopes would be fulfilled.  Salvation, in its fullest sense and for all of creation, is working toward completion.  And by linking this affirmation with fulfillment on earth in the here and now, Jesus is promising that the blessed kingdom of shalom is breaking through, if only in part, into the world here and now.  Even under the devastating rule of pagan empire.  God’s kingdom was breaking through.  Born out of the hearts of women and men, it is a present reality that defies circumstances and makes us truly blessed.

Jamie Arpin-Ricci, “The Cost of Community” page 151.

Vacation time. We are in Winnipeg for 2 weeks.  I am hopeful that this time will be a restful.  Therefore I will be staying away from social media and the blog.  I will however schedule posts on the regular Tuesday and Thursday’s which will be excerpts from books that have been significantly formative for me during this past year.  I hope they will be a blessing to you also. 

Thanks for reading.  I’ll see you in a few weeks.

Thirty Four: “The Upside-Down Kingdom”

 

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I was recently given an old school copy of  “The Upside-Down Kingdom” written by Donald B. Kraybill.  When I read the section below, I thought to myself “YESSSS!” then clenched my fist and proceeded to fist pump vigoursly.  It’s a bit sad that my son was in bed at this time as he is alwasy good for a high-five, sometimes even a high-ten.

Donald B. Kraybill on the Kindom of God:

“In a real sense the term defied definition since it is pregnant with many meanings.  This in fact is the secret of it’s genius.  It stimulates our imagination again and again.  Biblical scholars generally agree that the term ‘kingdom of God’ indicates the dynamic rule or reign of God.  The kingdom of God occurs when persons are ruled by God.  The German scholar Jeremias points out that the reign of God always stands for the government, authority, and power of the King.  It does not refer to a territory in a spatial sense.  Nor does it have an abstract or static meaning.  The kingdom does not stand still on a particular piece of ground – it is always in the process of being achieved.  The kingdom points us not to the place of God but to the act of  God.  It is His ruling activity.  The kingdom is present whenever women and men submit themselves to God’s reign in their life.”

Amen!

 “The Upside-Down Kingdom” – by Donald. B. Kraybill, page 25.

Thirteen: “Kony 2012” Compelled to Connect Pt4

It is safe to say that Kony 2012 is all over the place.  Twitter and Facebook alone became saturated with pictures, comments and videos.  Heck last night alone 20 people in my Facebook network posted the video or other links about the movement.  Not just my fellow British Columbians, but people from all over North America.

Connection is happening all over the place in the name of Kony 2012.  It is compelling, it is gripping because we are people created to connect.  It is in our DNA to connect with God and to connect with each other.   Technology gives us the persistent opportunity to do this with great efficiency.  As we have seen with Kony 2012, it can start movements.

According to Derek Sivers, a movement starts not with a leader, but with the people who are willing to follow.  When you have followers you create momentum.  When there is momentum it is almost impossible for the idea to stay within the nebulous world of digital social media.  It hit’s your home, it hits the streets, it hits your neighbourhood and beyond.  Things start moving.  It is attractive because people want to be part of something larger than themselves.  There is this desire because our individualistic society isolates us to the point where we need each other for belonging.   Peter Block speaks of this in his book “Community: The Structure of Belonging.”  He continues on to say;

“Community offers the promise of belonging and calls for us to acknowledge our interdependence.”

Movements assume the interdependence of a connected network of people willing to participate in something greater than themselves.  It is safe to say that Kony 2012 is a movement that has given people a place of belonging.  And it’s beautiful. Think critically, get involved, Kony is a monster who forces children to kill. But it is also a reminder, that though we are compelled to connect with one another in the name of something far greater than the individual, there is also a great divine connect waiting, just waiting for us to become active participants. It’s more than a movement, it’s citizenship and incarnation of a Kingdom and a world born within the dreams of God.  We need our connections with God and with each other to be stronger than that which empowers movements.  Follow Jesus, be missionaries of each and every moment.

“Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven…”  Matthew 6:10,11

Previous Post: Twelve: “The Disconnect Box” Compelled to Connect Pt 3

(If you have not seen the video that has hit the social media world by storm, I have embedded it below)

Holy Spirit pt3: “where you are present matters”

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The word incarnate means “being embodied” and in theological speak it refers to the miraculous reality that God became human in the saving life of Jesus Christ.  Some people even came up with the Doctrine of Incarnation.  Eugene Peterson in his contemporary translation of the bible entitled ‘the message” captures this reality well in the book of John.

The Word became flesh and blood,
and moved into the neighbourhood.
We saw the glory with our own eyes,
the one-of-a-kind glory,
like Father, like Son,
Generous inside and out,
true from start to finish.

John 1:15 (the message)

God moved into the world of 1st century Palestine and proceeded to knock the socks off the status quo by talking about a heavenly and divine reality called the “Kingdom of God.”  Jesus, the incarnation of God then represented the collision between this heavenly reality and the laws, religiosity, political climate, and socio-economic reality of 1st century Palestine.

The result is the messy encounters of heaven colliding with a disconnected, sinful humanity found in the gospel story.  Jesus didn’t just talk about the Kingdom of God, he was God embodied on earth and the actions of Jesus embody this hope of redemption and reconnection that we find in the God in heaven.  Within all this, God’s presence is central. God’s presence on earth, God’s presence in Jesus, and God’s presence via the Holy Spirit in us here today.

Acts chapter 2 is a favourite of mine.  Many call it the birth of the church as we know it.  A community gathered, receiving the spirit of God, the same spirit of Jesus, and a member of this dynamic active Trinitarian God.  In Acts 2, it was unifying, inspiring, empowering, and provided a great place for a community of believers to embark on a journey, imperfectly mind you, of loving God and loving neighbour.  Here in 2011 we get the same Spirit that Jesus had.  We get the same Holy Spirit that descended upon the gathered community of Acts at Pentecost.  We don’t only get a portion of it.  It’s not like we get the short end of the Holy Spirit stick.  We have the opportunity to fully receive the Holy Spirit within us and join with God in the activities of this world.  One way we join with God is by embodying the message by the Holy Spirit that is present within and around us.

Where you are present matters.  Where you live and how you engage your neighbour matters because as a believer in Christ you are, in all your brokenness, transparently (hopefully, nobody is perfect) embodying the message of a Trinitarian God.  For Anabaptists, that means grounded in community (presence in community is vitally important, can’t get into it on this post, but read up on it here) we embody a gospel centred around peace, justice, discipleship etc…  That means where we are present and collide with the culture around us that does not represent those principles.  The implications bring us face to face with a militaristic NHL hockey team logo, or the 3rd world living conditions in Northern Manitoba where there is apparently not enough fresh water to go around, or the gangs, drugs, and prostitution of the North and West End’s of Winnipeg.  We as people who embody a message of God’s love must with apostolic zeal and creativity bring the heart of the Anabaptist message out in the flesh and blood.  In some cases this may take a reimagining, but not deviating from, some of the more traditional Mennonite Anabaptist practices and focus on asking what Anabaptism looks like as it engages 2011 (that was quite the ambitious line, I know, I am working on a way to address quite significantly in the future, it’s also a shout out to the Naked Anabaptist).

What does the collision between Jesus centred, shalom seekin’, incarnated Anabapism and the dominate culture around us look like?  I am beginning to think that we cannot even begin to ask that question unless we are willing to understand the true implications of incarnation and embodying the message of a loving and active God.

 

(for other posts in this series)

Holy Spirit pt 1 “the crazy uncle nobody talks about”

Holy Spirit pt 2 “the assembly, potlucks, and sexuality”