Driving rain has marooned me at La Hacienda with no chance of leaving. So it’s a great chance to shoot off a little update if I can draw some inspiration from the Holy Spirit, my own heart, and this vegetable Quesadilla in front of me.
“Nathaniel”, (who laughed and told me to use his real name – “Amer”), did a terriffic job telling his story to a packed house last night. He’s a gifted storyteller, so the audience sat in rapt attention to his tale of encountering Jesus in dreams and Coffee bar conversations.
I’ve been thinking about the church lately. I reckon for a missionary I don’t talk a much about the church. I love the church, believe in the church, support the church, and of course “attend” church. But it’s the Kingdom that captures my imagination. After all Jesus told us that we should seek first the Kingdom, and He would build the church. But somehow it feels like we’ve gotten it all backwards with disasterous results. (He mentioned the word “church” twice in the four gospels, and the kingdom over one hundred seventeen times!
Lots of Jews in Jesus’ day missed the kingdom because they confused it with the Jewish nation. “Lord, are you going to free Israel now and restore our kingdom?” (Acts 1:6) You gotta understand this question came after the resurrection, and after three and a half years of preaching the “gospel of the kingdom.” Can you imagine that maybe the Lord might have felt like banging his head on the nearest brick wall?
As long as we equate the Kingdom with the church, or with heaven, we’ll never understand the Gospel as Jesus preached it. The Kingdom is the fullness of Christ filling ALL of creation, from “animals to atoms” and “cabbages to Kings.” (Eph. 9-10) I look forward to the day when the church awakens to the call of being God’s arrow pointing the way not to heaven, and not to itself, but to the Kingdom. That will be a fresh, new day in the history of the Church.