by Marjorie George
On the day my mother was baptized, her priest wrote her a note. It was not to her parents; it was to her — a hand-written note, scribbled on the back of a three-by-five inch church postcard, in ink now all but faded away.
My dear little Daisy,
Welcome, little child of God
Into the Body of Christ.
May you grow in grace day by day,
Until you come into ‘the Life more abundant.’
It is dated September 6, 1915.
Mom died April 1, 2009, at the age of 94, having reached the “life abundant.” I can attest that she did, indeed, grow in grace day by day. And that would be my definition of the Kingdom of God.
The Kingdom of God, Jesus said, was his reason for being. “I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God . . . that is why I was sent” (Luke 4:43). It is not something that can be observed, he added. “But it is in your midst” (Luke 17:20-21).
The Apostle Paul described the Kingdom of God as “not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Romans 14:17).
When a scribe recognized the summary of the law – “love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your soul and all your strength, and love your neighbor as yourself” – as the Great Commandment, Christ responded, “You are not far from the Kingdom of God” (Mark 12:34).
Centuries before Christ’s earthly existence, Moses had impressed upon the people that the commandments, the Kingdom of God, were how the people of God were to live. They were not to be read only on the high holy days. “These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts,” he said. “Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates” (Deut 6:1, 4-9).
The Kingdom of God is how we are to live; it is the environment in which we are to operate and upon which everything else depends – think Windows Explorer or Mac OSX.
And that is pretty much what Mom did. She died owning nothing – no house, no car, no jewelry save her gold wedding band. I would say that she did live in the peace and joy of the Holy Spirit, straight through some tough circumstances. She was big on accepting what God had given her gratefully and graciously.
We explore the Kingdom of God – what it is, where we can find it, how we can live it– in the fall/winter 2012 issue of Reflections magazine. If you are on the publications mailing list for the Episcopal Diocese of West Texas, it should be in your mailbox by November 15. (If you are not on the mailing list but would like to be, send an email to Barbara.email@example.com.)
The magazine has been posted on this blogsite in its entirety and article by article. You can read it now by clicking here.
Perhaps, in at least some small way, we can begin to talk about this Kingdom of God when we sit at home and when we walk along the road, when we lie down and when we get up.
Mom would have loved that conversation. In fact, I bet she is enjoying it right now.
Marjorie George is editor of Reflections magazine and ReflectionsOnline. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.