Matthew 6:33 NRSV
Jesus said, “Strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”
If we only had eyes to see and ears to hear and wits to understand, we would know that the Kingdom of God in the sense of holiness, goodness, beauty is as close as breathing and is crying out to be born both within ourselves and within the world; we would know that the Kingdom of God is what we all of us hunger for above all other things even when we don’t know its name or realize that it’s what we’re starving to death for. 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. We catch sight of it when at some moment of crisis a strength seems to come to us that is greater than our own strength. The Kingdom of God is where we belong. It is home, and whether we realize it or not, I think we are all of us homesick for it. – Frederick Buechner, Secrets in the Dark: A Life in Sermons
Daniel 6:26 NRSV
I make a decree, that in all my royal dominion people should tremble and fear before the God of Daniel: For he is the living God, enduring forever. His kingdom shall never be destroyed, and his dominion has no end.
The ultimate reality is the kingdom of God, and Christianity at its best is here to proclaim and lead people into that kingdom, calling them out of smaller rings, smaller kingdoms. Christianity at its worst, using the definition in this paragraph, can become a sin when it holds people within its ring and won’t let them enter the kingdom of God. Jesus diagnosed the religious leaders of his day as doing this very thing.
– Brian McLaren, A Generous Orthodoxy
Mark 1:14-15 NRSV
Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.”
Sometimes I’m so focused on the ‘Not Yet’ of the Kingdom of God
that I miss the ‘Now’ of it, too. – Sarah Bessey
God is the God of the future, and that is good news to our longing for something better to come. But the truly radical good news resides in the fact that God is not content to rest up until kingdom come. “I am with you” declares, among other things, that matters dear to God’s heart like justice and love, compassion and righteousness, are God’s pressing desires for the current day. God’s presence affirms that we have not been left behind or abandoned to fend for ourselves. Divine presence provides notice of God’s transformation of this world for the good. Jesus’ life and ministry serves as that notice made incarnate for our sake and for the sake of this God-filled world. As individuals and communities who follow Jesus, God invites us to make those our priorities as we trust holy presence to dispel fear and lead us on the way ahead.
– John Indermark, Do Not Live Afraid
The Kingdom of God is greater than all report, better than all praise of it, more manifold than every conceivable glory. The Kingdom of God is so full of light, peace, charity, wisdom, glory, honesty, sweetness, loving-kindness and every unspeakable and unutterable good, that it can neither be described nor envisioned by the mind. The citizens of heaven are the just and the angels, whose king is Almighty God. In the Kingdom of God, nothing is desired that may not be found. In the Kingdom of God is nothing that does not delight and satisfy. In the eternal Kingdom there shall be life without death, truth without falsehood, and happiness without a shadow of unrest or change. -Saint Patrick
The church, the community of Christ, is a joyful people, but the source of their joy is not that they live easy lives in a happy world or that things are getting better every day, but that their trust is in God’s coming kingdom. … If God’s promise of the kingdom of heaven is an empty promise, then a life of seeking justice and showing mercy is a fool’s illusion. Only the promised kingdom validates a life of hopeful service. But the promise of the kingdom is sure; therefore, joyful, blessed, happy are those who put their lives on the line, trusting that promise. – Tom Long, Commentary on Matthew
When we pray “thy kingdom come,” it is an engagement of our will to act in ways that can bring the Kingdom to pass on the earth. Christianity is not a spectator sport. Our thoughts, words and deeds are the means through which the Kingdom comes. A spirituality which expects God to do it all while we watch passively from the sidelines is a false spirituality. We only pray “thy kingdom come” correctly when we are in the game.- Steve Harper
Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us,
and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever.
Extended quote and blessing from In the Sanctuary of Women by Jan Richardson
It is hard to keep our eyes open to the things of heaven while attending to the things of earth, and vice versa. How do we sort through these competing claims? There are days I long to escape the mundane, days I want to flee from dealing with dishes, with laundry, with phone calls, with taxes, with errands, with paperwork, with institutions, with broken systems, with all that tries my patience and wears me out. Yet at the same time I recognize that even at their most maddening, these recurring activities help ground me, keep me from tilting off the planet, root me in this world where God lives. Where God hides. Where God waits for me to look for the holy not beyond my daily life but in the very midst and sometimes mess of it.
May you give your devotion to the things of heaven.
May you give your attention to the things of earth.
May they find a place of meeting in you.
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