The Kingdom of God used to be as far away from me as darkest Africa or pagan China. As a child, I believed that the Kingdom of God was some high in the sky place occupied of course, by God and his saints with angels wings, harps, and white clouds. There was music and singing praises and it was all pure gold, and the pearly gates were guarded by Saint Peter or Saint Paul, who opened and closed the gates for those who were blessed to make it to heaven. That is it then, to me the Kingdom of God was heaven in all of itís glory, all of itís beauty, all of itís heaven.
Then I matured as a Christian. I became older and understanding of the Scriptures made the Kingdom of God a little less heavenly and little more earthly minded. In studying the Scriptures, I grew into the realization that Godís kingdom is made up of sinners like me and you. Sinners saved by grace through faith in Jesus. Jesus who brought God to man by becoming man and giving each of us the opportunity to be reconciled to God through His Son, a Son that shares with each of us humanity. And the humanity, it tarnishes the childhood picture, because the sinner is ugly, stained, marred by sin unmentionable, filthy sin that only Godís Son in his pure sacrifice can turn white as snow. So as a mature, Christian, the kingdom of God becomes less attainable to me, as my humanity and my years on the planet
John the Baptist, proclaimed, Repent for the kingdom of God is at hand, so the kingdom of God is here, now as it was then, it is the gospel, Jesus Christ in the flesh, my flesh and yours.
Listen to Casting Crowns:
It's crowded in worship today
As she slips in trying to fade into the faces
The girls teasing laughter is carrying farther than they know
Farther than they know
But if we are the body
Why aren't His arms reaching?
Why aren't His hands healing?
Why aren't His words teaching?
And if we are the body
Why aren't His feet going?
Why is His love not showing them there is a way?
There is a way
A traveler is far away from home
He sheds his coat and quietly sinks into the back row
The weight of their judgmental glances
Tells him that his chances are better out on the road
Jesus paid much too high a price
For us to pick and choose who should come
And we are the body of Christ
Jesus is the way.
And I am guilty, for as a child, I picked and chose only perfection as the kingdom of God. As a ďmatureĒ Christian, I pick and choose only those I identify with as the kingdom. But the kingdom is anybody, everybody, who comes to know Him. And how will they know Him, through me. Not the perfect harp singing winged angels. No the imperfect disciples like Peter the denier, Matthew the tax collector and cheater, and me with all of my imperfections, and idiosyncracies. I am John the Baptist, I should be crying in the wilderness for surely this world is still a wilderness of sinners. The Kingdom of God is at hand, my hand, and yours, proclaim it Christian!
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