“…..Thy Kingdom come, on earth as it is in Heaven,” we pray hundreds or even thousands of times in “The Lord’s Prayer.” But it seems to me that our society seems to be growing further and further FROM the Kingdom of God. All of the terrorist attacks across the world and racist attacks on law enforcement officers across the country have many of us wondering, “Where is God when all of this is going on? Surely these things are not what He wills for us –or for anyone!
When I was back in Seminary School, one of the things that we were taught is that we Christians were trying consciously to live into God’s Kingdom. Jesus told many people in the Gospels that “…they were not far from the Kingdom of God.” The early Christians reported living in the Kingdom of God despite attacks from the Roman government. They responded to persecutions with peace and love, rather than fear and hatred.
One of United Methodism’s greatest theological contributions has been our emphasis on this reign of God upon our lives which the church lifted up during the season of the church year beginning on the last Sunday in August each year and lasting until Advent begins (the four weeks before Christmas). We call this season, “Kingdomtide,” and change the color of the church banners and altar cloths from the red of Pentecost to green, signifying growth of God’s Kingdom.
I don’t know about you, but I know that I need to really work on growing God’s Kingdom within me. Too many times I have let myself respond to the events around me in the world’s ways, rather than in Kingdom-ways. I need to do this personally, as does any Christian who is trying to live into the Kingdom of God. Many of the church’s programs, from our Round-Up Sunday on August 14, through the nomination process of finding new Ministry Placement positions for the next year, and our Consecration Sunday program of growing in our financial stewardship are all a part of this Kingdom-tide emphasis.
Grace and Peace,