Advent, the church lead-up to Christmas is in full swing. It is a time where the church remembers the beginning of a shift. A baby in Bethlehem marks a beginning and an ending. Beliefs held about unclean people, legalistic faith, and the permanence of sin and death would fall – and its place would come a faith of forgiveness, life, and light eternal.
Believing the Spirit to be ever on the move, one wonders where shifts are occurring today? What is beginning with God through small signs and wonders now, and what fading and emerging will we see in our times?
One thought: We are moving from Christ to Kingdom.
To say we are moving from Christ sounds strange, maybe it would be better to say further in, but at many times in the past what the church has needed to let go of is too much of an emphasis on one word. The laws Jesus discussed, for example were good in their time and place (like the Sabbath), but they were so emphasized as to divide and classify people. Good rules pushed too far toxify faith. Jesus brought a love that transcends laws, and with restored a love of God and neighbor.
Today, the case is we know Jesus’ name and may have a genuine relationship to Him – but are His people building His Kingdom? In talking to friends I am surprised how many people my age have never been on a mission trip. The money leaving institutional churches for Kingdom work is breathtakingly small. Nonprofit charitable financial giving is rising while church giving is declining. Think of the church – is it really engagement enough to be a greeter or Sunday School teacher and the honest truth of church is most Christians never even do that?
I talk to my millennial kids and I see a day where the question of faith-practice will be not – Where do you go to church? – but instead – Where in the Kingdom are you engaged? The Spirit is pushing us toward a day where the Kingdom is as important as the name.
A line of Scripture is rising in my thoughts these days. Like many Biblical phrases, its understanding may take a lifetime and any wisdom granted is a Spirit-given gift. Jesus said,
The truth is its not even a whole verse – like love your neighbor – it’s about half of one. It comes, however, after Jesus teaching about prayer, fasting, wealth, worry, loving the poor, and what heaven is like. That’s a lot, to say the least, but then He gives us a verse to guide our pursuit of all of the above.
Seek first the Kingdom of God and its righteousness….
and then Jesus adds the closing line…and all these things will be given to you as well.
A life of love, prayer, joy, peace, justice…a life of daily bread and what we need…a life absent of doubt and being fully present in today is ours.
How is it found?
Seek first the Kingdom of God and its righteousness.
(thanks for reading, if you found Jesus in this please comment and share)