Profound. Hard. Defining. Jesus’ prayer for his disciples spoke of a new reality. “My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one.” (John 17:15).
Life as a citizen in his kingdom unseen by the human eye has its challenges. Its values defy those of the Kingdom of the Earth. These Kingdoms do not sit side by side so straddling is not neccessary. Jesus’ Kingdom veils this Earth. My heart and my mind bear the scars of living in a kingdom that is both now and not yet. And that’s the rub.
How do I keep my eyes fixed on my Ruler and the hope that this Kingdom offers while waking up to a which is only a taste of “Heaven?”
Lately, I’ve heard ponderings from others regarding the paradox of living in the “in between.” How does one live in the truth of new life in the Resurrection yet face the reality of destruction and death of the things of this world?
- the Sabbath can be viewed as a glimpse of the “not yet.” (Thank you Beth Felkert Jones who spoke of this nuance at a retreat I recently attended). Embraced in all it’s glory, the Sabbath puts us in a position to celebrate and receive all of God’s goodness. Sharing our bounty in fellowship, surrendering control of time, seeking intimacy with spouse all speak to living in the “now” of the “hope of the not yet”
- Jesus’ prays that God’s will would be done on Earth as it is in Heaven. Scripture speaks about seeking justice on this Earth. God desired restoration after the fall. Each of us carries a desire to seek a piece of that restoration and healing here. Yet, sometimes our passions consume. They become more about us, our power, our agendas, and less testifying to others whom we follow. The witness of God’s character diminishes, as our own voice scream for recognition and control. Yet, I am reminded that prophets quite frequently were sent out to proclaim truth after God reminded them that their words would not be welcomed. It wasn’t about them. It was about God. It’s always about God.
- God is aware of the sinful world in which we live. The political conflicts, the violence, the influence of people in power esteeming the values of treasures that rust and destroy is nothing new. The cries of the Prophets and writing of the Psalms bear witness to the difficulty of living in the hope of our God who has established a covenant with his people yet engages in the relationship on the Earth rather than in a place of perfection. Through it all, we are reminded of God’s words to the Israelites, “This is how others will know I am your God.”
As we celebrate Advent, we are reminded of the anticipation of the Savior, the Messiah, the Wonderful Counselor. Prince of Peace. He came, He is, and He will come again. I join in that same anticipation as I look forward to the new coming yet don’t want to miss seeing Jesus revealed in the in between moments that is my life now.