Tag Archives: kingdom

Sunday thoughts on a Monday morning

Sometimes during a church service I become aware of what we are doing–the raw details of it, I mean. Usually this is during the singing time, when, depending on where I am, 50 or 100 or 120 men, women, and children stand and sing songs together, we stand reading words from a screen or from a book and sing. What a strange thing! What are we doing? Sometimes the songs are beautiful, sometimes the words seem meaningless, but always we sing. How strange!

This thought and feeling came over me again yesterday morning. I again became aware of how odd and unprecedented it and even not normal it seemed. People from 5 to 90 facing forward, singing songs.

And then it dawned on me. It’s not just the standing reading theological and worshipful words on a screen, it’s the whole package. We are singing together: people of all ages, genders, and races, singing together about and to a God they have gathered together to worship. People of different incomes, walks of life, opinions, histories, all gathered together to sing, to listen, to learn, to worship, to pray. This is remarkable, when you stop to think about it.

I realized that it’s not just the words we sing, but the act of singing together itself that is powerful and symbolic–no, even an enacting of the Kingdom of God.

 

The Kingdom begins with His death.

Jesus’ rebuke to the unseeing pair on the road to Emmaus was not that they had been looking for a kingdom, and should not have been.  Their fault  is that, just like Peter at Caesarea Philippo, they were failing to see that the suffering of the Messiah is the inauguration of the kingdom.  “Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and enter into his glory?”  “Glory” here cannot mean the ascension, which has not been recounted yet… Might it not then mean…that the cross itself is seen as fulfilling the kingdom promise?  Here at the cross is the man who loves his enemies, the man whose righteousness is greater than that of the Pharisees, who being rich became poor, who gives his robe to those who took his cloak, who prays for those who despitefully use him.  The cross is note a detour or a hurdle on the way to the kingdom, nor is it even the way of the kingdom; it is the kingdom come.

— John Howard Yoder, The Politics of Jesus (p.51)

(Yes, I’m being proactive with my schoolwork–school doesn’t start until Wednesday.  We’ll see how long this lasts.  I have 5 books to read by the end of September/beginning of October, on top of daily text reading for classes and Hebrew memorization, so I had better become a proactive person.)