Go for a drive as the sun begins to sink away. Turn off the radio, and lean your head against the passenger side window and look up into the trees. Watch the light thread through the leaves, flicker, dance with the wind, moving like sunlight on an open lake.
The light is breaking through, blink and you’ll miss it but look, the light is here. It grows and takes over your senses, even when you close your eyes, you see the light moving.
We Christians, we have a saying about the Kingdom of God: it’s now and it’s not yet. We live in a tension. It’s the tension of living our lives as Kingdom-people, oriented around the life and teachings of our Jesus, a Christo-centric people, in a world that is not yet redeemed. Of course the world is good – God made it good – and even though it has fallen, it will be restored. We are balancing between the new upside-down kingdom ways of our Jesus and the reality of our present age. It means that even though all things are made new, they are still in the process of being made new. So we live in a fallen world and terrible things happen but we live our lives as if the Kingdom has already come because it has and yet it is still coming.
The now-and-not-yet of the Kingdom of God is one of those beliefs or ideas that I understand in my marrow, not my mind. I understand the Kingdom of God if I come at it from the corner of my eye instead of straight on. Like love, it defies definition and tidy resolutions and scoresheets.
But sometimes, I am too focused on the not-yet part of the Kingdom. I focus my eyes and my life entirely on the despair or the brokenness, on the frustrations and injustices. I miss the beauty in the brokenness. I miss the Church living and breathing new life into death.
See that God is doing a new thing, do we not perceive it.
I’ve missed the light because of the trees, instead of seeing that it is the movement and shadow of the trees making the light even more brilliant. The trees aren’t blocking the sunlight, it’s filtering, it’s making the light dance in our lives like dry bones rising up alive.
The Bride of Christ grows lovelier to me with each passing day, I keep finding our brothers and sisters in the strangest of places, quietly doing the work of the Kingdom, not because anybody “deserves” it but because this is what we do. This is who we are. This is the allegiance of the Kingdom, our calling is to live out our lives right now as if the Kingdom has already come because it has. We have God’s promises that all things will be made new, and so now: who do I see?
Beauty. Redemption. Miracles. Wholeness. Healing. Renewal. Friendship. Conversation. Prayer. Worship. Work. Music. Art. Justice. Jubilee. Mercy. Love. Sex. Aging. All redeemed.
I want to see the light and I want to see the trees. I want to learn to see them both, moving quickly, stirring with the wind of the Spirit.
I think the Kingdom is more poetry to bear and live into throughout our life, than dictionary definitions to memorize or boundaries to place. Go for a drive, go for a walk, look up and fill your eyes with the Kingdom already come.