Sunday, November 13, 2016

Year C, Proper 29, Luke 23:33-43, Kingdom NOW

My pastor, (bless his heart!), loves to ask rhetorical questions.  One Sunday he asked us, "Well, do you know what this Kingdom of God looks like?"  With every bone in my body I wanted to stop him, and simple say "Yes, Pastor, actually I do know what the Kingdom looks like."  You cannot read the Bible without getting a picture about what the Kingdom is like.  Its Jesus' central message.

From Micah 6:8

He has told you, O mortal, what is good;
and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,

and to walk humbly with your God?

From Matthew 22:37-39

'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. ' This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it:'You shall love your neighbor as yourself. '

And then, there is the vivid imagery from Isaiah 11:6-9

The wolf shall live with the lamb,
    the leopard shall lie down with the kid,
    the calf and the lion and the fatling together,
         and a little child shall lead them.
The cow and the bear shall graze,
     their young shall lie down together;
         and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
The nursing child shall play over the hole of the asp,
         and the weaned child shall put its hand on the adder's den.
They will not hurt or destroy
     on all my holy mountain;
         for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord

         as the waters cover the sea.

We could fill in the cracks with the Parables, or Jesus own actions such as declaring from the cross, "Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing."  

And of course, one mustn't forget the words he read as he began his ministry:
From Luke 4:18-19, where he reads from Isaiah:

"The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
         because he has anointed me
                to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives
         and recovery of sight to the blind,
                to let the oppressed go free,

to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor."

"Yes, Pastor, I do know what the Kingdom of God looks like."

"The problem is I just don't see it on a day to day basis."

I love the fact that following every presidential election in our country, the liturgical calendar quickly shifts to the celebration of Christ the King Sunday. It's a reminder.  A very poignant reminder.  We are in good hands.  Jesus' hands.

The choice is ours.
We can put off till tomorrow our hopes for the Kingdom of God.
Or we can live in that Kingdom, now.

One does not need to die, in order to do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with God.

Loving God and Loving Neighbor was never intended to be a future goal, but one that could be set aside for today.

There is no need for us to continue to live out our lives in predatory ways, feeding off one another.  We need not hurt or destroy one another, even now.

Your Kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.  On earth.  Today.  As in Heaven.  

Moses was only able to see the promised land from afar.

But Jesus leads us into the Kingdom now.  

"Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing."  

Today, now, fulfilled, do you hear it?  Can you see it?  Will you live it?

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