The Kingdom Within
In the Gospel of Luke chapter 17, Jesus is questioned by a group of overly-religious people:
"Jesus, grilled by the Pharisees on when the kingdom of God would come, answered, 'The kingdom of God doesn’t come by counting the days on the calendar. Nor when someone says, ‘Look here!’ or, ‘There it is!’ And why? Because God’s kingdom is already among you.'"
Another way to translate that last line is: "Because God's kingdom is within you."
Two things occur to me this morning: 1) It's important to understand what Jesus means by "God's kingdom, and 2) It's also important to understand why he wanted his followers to know that God's kingdom was "within" them.
Frederick Buechener described God's kingdom like this:
"The Kingdom of God is where our best dreams come from and our truest prayers. We glimpse it at those moments when we find ourselves being better than we are and wiser than we know."
Another way of describing God's kingdom is with a single word: Shalom. This Hebrew word essentially reflects the hope of God's peace over all the world. Shalom is when God ultimately gets what God wants for all of Creation, including us.
But why did Jesus want his followers to know that this peace, this Kingdom was within them?
Because no matter what was happening around them... war, struggle, persecution, trials, tribulation, hatred, violence, bigotry, inequity, poverty, doubts, fears... Jesus wanted them to know that none of those things could touch the peace, the Shalom that was within them.
And wherever they went--that's where the kingdom of God was evident. Wherever they were being their best selves, better than they imagined they could be, wiser than they knew... the Kingdom of God broke through and was visible.
Carry God's Kingdom, God's Shalom with you today. No matter what whirlwinds might be swirling around you, be at peace because the Kingdom is within you. Let the world see it.
And may the grace and peace of our Lorde Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.
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