The Kingdom of God
In Scripture Jesus taught consistently about one thing, the Kingdom of God. For a few reasons I prefer the word “reign” instead of kingdom, but that is not the point at the moment.
That seems obvious, but the question for people like Jesus’s followers who had been through so many kingdoms was “What kind of king are we dealing with here?” That seems like an important question if you are being invited into a kingdom.
Jesus spends quite a bit of time answering that question. God is more “dad” than “father” in Jesus’s prayers, and God is merciful, kind, forgiving, and just. “God is love,” is how the First Letter of John puts it.
But there is another point that Jesus makes that is not quite so obvious to us. In the time of Jesus, anyone above you in status or power was addressed as “father”, anyone below you was “son.” So, to address God as “Our Father in the Heavens” in the prayer is to address the authority above all authorities, the power above all powers.
But God holds that authority and power as a loving parent, rather than simply another power among the powers.
In our lives, even as God’s children in his kingdom, we live in a world that demonstrates all kinds of power and authority. Some of them are obvious, like presidents and bishops, and others are obscure, the radio station we listen to, the tv or movies we watch, or the Instagram influencer we let determine what we think about.
Do we treat God as the authority above all other authorities? Or do we put someone or something else on the throne in our lives?
One way I have found that keeps me aligned with God’s kingdom is to be faithful to his work, diligent in prayer and study and to give faithfully and generously. When we put God first in our relationship with others, material things and our finances, we tend to keep God on the throne of our hearts.
I am pleased to see that many of you are being faithful and generous in your pledges this year. We are off to a strong start.
The effect of shutting down the in-person church services due to COVID, and with the additional distraction of this being a heated election year, left Christ Church in a bit of a tight financial position. To those who were able and faithfully continued to give during these circumstances – Thank You. To those who have showed your faithfulness in pledging for the year ahead, it is very encouraging.
If you have not pledged yet, please keep praying about what God would have you do to align with his will and purpose in your life and our community here at Christ Church. We are building his Kingdom here – be part of it!
The Rev. Daniel P. Richards
Christ Church of the Ascension
Paradise Valley, Arizona