Thursday, September 14, 2006

In The Meantime, The Kingdom of God

What do we do in the meantime, I'd wonder in my youth. Sure, we understand that in the distant future we will study war no more and that the lion will lay down with the lamb. Some folks call that heaven, some folks call it the millenium, some folks refer to it as nirvana, some call it ridiculous.

Yesterday, as I braved San Francisco traffic to head to Oakland, I wondered how I was to be an advocate of goodness in a seemingly pissed-off environment...was I to be meek and serve others by allowing them in front of me? Of course, that can only go on so long before I begin shouting shit, shit, shit. And I thought, you know, if we'd all take care of each other, then I'd be able to serve people better. If people were working cooperatively here, then I could let a few people in and eventually someone would let me in. But I was aware that during rush hour, most people can only think of themselves. And I said, well, in the meantime, I guess I'll have to be my own advocate here.

And it dawned on me that very few of us live in the future reality presently.

Jesus came proclaiming a Kingdom of God that was both here and at hand. He harkened the words of the prophets of old. But so many of us forfeit the meantime, thinking only of the future...or even the next step. I journalled in my moleskine in Europe about how I often use future language to describe how the Kingdom of God might be.

But the community of the Way was to model the Kingdom of God now. NT Wright said something about modeling the future of God in the here and now. And of course it doesn't always make sense. That's what makes it an alternative community...even though it is attempting to move with the most ancient of rhythms of our Universe...attempting to recover healthy relation to Creator and creation.

But what do we do in the meantime?
is an uninformed, sleepy question...because the meantime is the time of the Kingdom of God. We are the ones we've been waiting for. Now is the time. It's not all about God and nothing to do with you...let's put behind us that silly, escapist's about a always has been a partnership. Always. This is the year of the Lord's favor. Let us engage as though it depends on us holding up our end of the deal, receiving grace for fucking up and still pressing on in the dark.

Do you not know?
You really are the one
To bring the healing that has begun
And it has begun

We must begin to live consistently, realizing that all of life is sacred. Banish from our vocabularly the phrases, I did it for the mortgage and Yah, but in business, it's about the bottom line. We are to live the Kingdom now, not later, not when thinking spiritually, not in certain all things. All things. All things. All things.

Everything counts. How did we get so far off from this? Everything, everything, everything counts...what we buy, how we fill our days, how we fill our bellys, who we coming along side of, who we shun, how we treat this good earth, how we treat our next-door neighbor and our global neighbor.

This is the meantime...the Kingdom of God.


Kirsty said...

This made me smile:) I have been thinking a lot about the kingdom lately, and how easy it is to always think of it as future. I think most people don't think they are ready in their current state to imagine the kingdom of God coming, but really thst future state where you are good enough never really comes. It's a nice feeling to be aware that you can make a difference NOW:)

Andrew Greenhalgh said...

Good thoughts, Ryan. That sense of urgency is what is largely missing throughout the body, I think. Perhaps it's some of our "Left Behind" eschatology or just material laziness, but we need to realize the power and the potential of the NOW.

Ruben said...

i played your cd last night and lit some candles and just relaxed for a bit. i hope all is well out there!

growing up in neverland said...

Those words really echo the saints and the prophets throughout history - speaking of God's work that's happening NOW in the world. Jesus fully embodied that throughout his ministry - displaying the full spectrum of God's reality in our midst. I pray to see more of that reality every day, and live within that government. Through that, I truly believe impact becomes simply a bi-product. It becomes inevitable when your laws contradict the culture's values and beliefs - you can't help but take a stand at that point. I see that in your words - by your example.

p.s. had a baby yet???

s.o said...

Ryan - why you gotta throw out the challenge like that? writing on proper neighborliness in traffic is one thing ... and banishing words and phrases from a comsumer's vocabulary is yet another.
(btw - I didn't know we could do that! Is that allowed? Can we banish the phrases?? - great thought).

everything counts - all things.
and, I can't get Sujfan Stevens out of my head - all things go.