Tag Archives: kingdom of God

The Kingdom of God

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.

It said:
 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.duffield@dwtx.org.)

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 marjorie.george@dwtx.org.

 

 

 

 

The Other Side of the Wall

by Marjorie George

G. C. Waldrep, American poet and historian, was asked what connection he sees between poetry and prayer. “Sometimes I speculate the two are like adjacent apartments in the same building,” he said. “When you’re in one, you have no direct access to the other, but if you listen closely you can hear sound – sometimes muffled, sometimes sharp – coming from the other side of the connecting wall. I feel that way about prayer when I am reading or writing poetry and about poetry when I am praying” (from Prayer and Poetry in Huffington Post. Read the entire article here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/katherine-towler/prayer-and-poetry_b_1387832.html)

Waldrep speaks, I think, of making the connection with that realm beyond the tangible that occasionally beckons us out of our ordinary lives. (More likely, it constantly beckons us but we only occasionally hear it above the din of the commonness to which we have become accustomed.)

Jesus called it “the Kingdom of God.” “The kingdom of God has come near,” he said as he began his earthly ministry. “Repent and believe the good news!” (Mark 1:15).

“The Kingdom of God is here,” he said, as he held a little child (Mark 10:14).

“Heal the sick who are there and tell them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you’” he said to his disciples as he sent them out (Luke 10:9).  

And don’t you hear it sometimes? Don’t you sense it?

G. C. Waldrep’s connection point is poetry. For us it might be a phrase in a well-known scripture that we hear with new ears, or that word in the Sunday sermon that we take all the way to the parking lot before forgetting it. It might be the incredible beauty of that Blue Jay in the backyard stopping by for a drink from the fountain.  

There is a tug on our sensitivities — a still, small voice that says, “Stop here; investigate this; pay attention;  enjoy. There is something more here, something especially for you.” A brush of angels’ wings, says the song; a muffled sound on the other side of the wall.

Listen to that, said Christ. Pay attention. Get out your reciprocating saw and cut a hole through the wall. It is a treasure hidden in a field, a pearl of great price, a lost coin found (see Matt 13:44-45, Luke 15:8).

But we will only hear it, see it, sense it if we stop long enough to listen, look, feel. The neighbors are there on the other side of the wall. Go ahead; invite them in.

Marjorie George is editor of Reflections magazine and ReflectionsOnline. Reach her at marjorie.george@dwtx.org.