For several days, I have been chewing on a passage from Richar Rohr’s book Preparing for Christmas: Daily Meditations for Advent about my favorite topic, the kingdom of God. His words pierce and convict, so there is no need to add my own paler reflections, except to say this – the kingdom of God was the central message of Jesus.
In Luke 4: 43, Jesus says: “I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent.” And we know that Jesus taught his disciples to pray: Let Your kingdom come, let Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. (Matthew 6:10) This defines what God’s kingdom is and will be: the time when God’s will is done on the earth as it is done in heaven. Or, as Dallas Willard put it so succinctly – when what God wants done is done.
The following is not a warm and fuzzy read, but Advent is not meant to be a warm and fuzzy season, so let’s lean into it together. Richard Rohr writes:
The price for real transformation is high. It means that we have to change our loyalties from power, success, money and control (read: our kingdoms) to the Lordship of Jesus and the kingdom of God. Henceforth, there is only one thing that is Absolute and, in relationship to that, everything else is relative – everything – even the church, even our nation, even national security, even our wealth, and our possessions, even our identity and our reputation. All of our safety nets must now be of secondary or even tertiary importance, or even let go of, because Jesus is Lord! Whatever you trust to validate you and secure you is your real god, and the Gospel is saying, Will the real God please stand up?
We can see why there are so few kingdom people. Jesus is saying that all these systems are passing away and limited and that we should not put all of our eggs into such baskets. Yes, we need to work inside of these institutions for social order and some small degree of justice, but we shouldn’t think these systems will ever of themselves accomplish God’s justice or God’s reign.
What in your life gives you false happiness and fulfillment and prevents you from letting God’s truth break into your life?
Let’s not rush to answer this penetrating question. Instead, let’s ask the Holy Spirit to shine the light of truth into the dark corners of our hearts and burn away everything that is not of him.
Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths;
guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior,
and my hope is in you all day long. Psalms 25:4-5