I was nineteen when I first began to question what was meant by the terminology kingdom of God. I remember sitting on the couches of the student union building at my college talking through it with a trusted friend. It had taken me up until that point, but I was finally starting to wonder if there was more to understanding all these Christian sayings that flew about our sermon and prayer spaces so often loosely and generically.
What did it mean to say Lord? What did it mean to say King? What did it mean for my actual life to live in and for the kingdom of God and not just have it be a part of the language and culture of Sunday mornings and small groups?
My subsequent journey with New Monasticism (and the practice of implementing monastic wisdom into a modern context, especially in regard to faith and justice) realized many of these phrases for me. If Lord referenced the one to whom I looked for guidance and indication of purpose and morality, then Jesus was not fully Lord if he was not Lord over my finances and my relationships with my neighbors, over how I shared my possessions and who I would invite into my home. I was not living in and for the backwards kingdom of God if my daily, sometimes hourly, decisions were not bent toward those whom Jesus said would inherit said kingdom: the poor, the hungry, the meek, and the mourners.
"My kingdom is from another place," Jesus says (AP). But he also instructs us to pray to the Creator, “Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matt. 6:10). God’s kingdom is both here and on its way. May we ask ourselves today what we mean by Lord and kingdom and what we’re willing to let that inform in our actual lives.
Holy Spirit, challenge us to take our words and our prayers to a different level. Help us to question whether our language matches the practical application of our faith in our lives. Amen.
Second Samuel records the final words of David. David takes comfort in the covenant that God has made with his family, which must be continued by kings who will honor God and rule justly. The psalmist sings of this same covenant with David’s family and the same necessity to follow God’s decrees in order to rule well. Revelation opens with a vision of Jesus Christ, the fulfillment of the Davidic covenant, the King to rule over all kings for all time. Many expected Jesus to set up a political kingdom. Yet in John, Jesus tells Pilate that his kingdom is not an earthly one. This week let us thank God that the kingdom is based not on the exercise of power but on Jesus’ example of serving others.
Read 2 Samuel 23:1-7. What characteristics would you include in a description of a just leader? Where do you see those characteristics in world leaders today?
Read Psalm 132:1-18. What is your vision of Paradise? Who will be seated at the table with you?
Read Revelation 1:4b-8. How do you bear witness to the “Alpha and the Omega”?
Read John 18:33-37. What is your understanding of what it means to live in God’s kingdom?
Respond by posting a prayer.
I join many of those who will pray for you as you seek to discern what you are called to be at this moment. May God grant you the courage to fulfill that calling. May we all open our eyes and see the misery, open our ears and hear the cries of God’s people, and, like God through the Lord Jesus Christ, be incarnate amongst them.”
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