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Manifesting the Kingdom of Heaven

Manifesting the Kingdom of Heaven

It’s January 18 and I still have my Christmas tree up.  It felt like a very short Christmas season this year, so I can’t yet bear to put away the twinkly lights and the homemade ornaments with their simple, joyous beauty.  The little tree stands in the front window of our home, telegraphing warmth, welcome and maybe a little hope.  It’s like a miniature, multi-colored lighthouse beckoning travelers past the dark shoals of gloom we find so often all around us these days.

So when I got off the computer after an online EfM session the other night I was delighted to come downstairs and see it twinkling away in the darkened living room.  We had been talking about Martin Luther King’s Beloved Community, about how we might help to bring it into being.  We began by feeling very pessimistic about the possibility of such a Community ever being manifest in this benighted world in which we live.  But by the end of our time together we had been reminded that each of us can do the small things that are right in front of us, day after day, and that those things make a difference because all of us are connected.

As I walked downstairs I was thinking about how the Beloved Community can only really manifest as the Kingdom of Heaven, a realm infused by God.  When I saw our little Christmas tree I realized that this is what it’s like  It might look small and unassuming, but it is true home, the place where each of us belongs, the realm in which each of us lives in harmony with all the rest – and shines.

We might be one of the tiny, colored lights.  Or we might be the little, cloth Santa.  Or maybe we are the cardboard snowflake that has been around for so many Christmases that all its ends are crumpled.  Or perhaps we’re the glittery purple, gold-tinseled angel.  Each of us is unique and valuable.  Put us all together and run the energy of God, like electricity, through the mix, and we are glorious, a beautiful whole that draws everything into it.

Three times Jesus asked Peter if he loved him.  Three times Peter vowed that he did.  And each time that Peter  said yes, Jesus commissioned him.  “Feed my lambs.”  “Tend my sheep.”  “Feed my sheep.”

This tending and feeding is the job of every member of the church.  Jesus invites all of us, ordained and lay alike, to love and to care for his people.  It is through doing the small, rather homey things that are our unique expressions of love that it happens.  All of them, no matter how foolish or awkward they might seem to us, usher in the Kingdom of Heaven.  In God, all of us matter, and all of us are connected.


 

EfM is Education for Ministry.  Find out more about it here: 

Laurie Gudim is a religious iconographer and writer living in Fort Collins, Colorado.  Some of her ions can be viewed at http://everydaymysteries.com.  And check out her novel at https://smile.amazon.com/dp/B074G137V8/ref=smi_www_rco2_go_smi_g2609328962?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1&ie=UTF8

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