W.The Kingdom of God and Lordship of Jesus are meant to describe the supremacy of God. Whether viewed as a metaphor or a reality this image has little currency today. The political reality of today is hardly as forceful and compelling as that encompassed by kings and lords. For one thing representative government is built on the principle of the primacy of the governed and not the government. We (the governed) can replace presidents and representatives and we do so easily -- to change our government when it pleases us. Even if we ascribe to government of law and not of persons we still can change that law though our elected representatives. None of this applies to kings or lords.
W.The most powerful person in the world is arguably the President of the United States. Maybe instead of a king God is something like the President only more powerful and permanent. Unfortunately "President for Ever" sounds too much like "President for Life" -- all too often the title tinhorn dictators and petty tyrants take in small countries. General Pinoche of Chile was made "Senator for Life" for his efforts as dictator there. It would seem that there simply is no longer an analogy in our political life that can give us understanding of what the Kingdom of God or Christ our Lord originally meant.
W.While the Kingdom of God is intended to conjure up a specific place where God rules some Christians substitute a wholly different realm in its place. They say that God rules in the heart of each and every believer and this is the Kingdom of God. After all doesn't Jesus himself say, "...the Kingdom of God is within you." Nevertheless this exchange of one analogy for another again runs afoul of modern ideas -- not this time of government but of personhood. One of the reasons we have representative government is because we believe in the sanctity of the individual. Our initial assumption is that no one has the right rule us unless we consent. This is not only a principle of government but also of sane thinking as proffered by modern psychology. This is not a kingdom but of one. And if God rules there it is only by our own election.
W.While our personal choice is important in faith it cannot create the Kingdom of God. There must be a place God rules before we choose. Faith is not just our choice but also God's. Without God reaching out to us first we cannot have faith. We cannot bridge the separation between us alone. Like everything else faith is a gift from God. Faith is not something we own but something that owns us. The Kingdom of God is a kingdom God creates -- not us -- where God rules first and from which God chooses us. Our choice is to accept that we have been chosen. This Kingdom is more among us than within us -- a way of being and doing with each other. In this way the Kingdom of God is more place than state of mind or being within oneself.
W.That the Kingdom of God and Lordship of Christ are not abstract images but concrete and call to mind a specific form and realm of government is no accident. They are challenges to the accepted way human beings relate to each other as embodied in human institutions. There are no more ubiquitous human institutions than the many forms of our governments. Jesus contrasts the Kingdom of God with tyrannical Roman rule, the sycophantic Jewish monarchy, and a ridgid Jewish religious hierarchy. It is a radical idea which replaces human rule with direct rule by God. The Kingdom of God is the most radical idea we can have of our relationship to others.
W.Jesus' challenge is so direct that he is closely questioned by ruling authorities. They are worried about rebellion. He is not because rebellion too is just another human institution. He answers their concerns with, "Give to Caesar what is Caesar's." He also says, "My Kingdom is not of this world." But denying rebellion Jesus does not deny the reality of the Kingdom which it was his whole life to proclaim. If we don't feel that this Kingdom is a challenge to our human government to the same extent that the authorities that questioned Jesus directly did then we have missed the point. The Kingdom of God and Christ the Lord is a challenge to human institutions. Holding on to that concrete image is an important element of faith even if we have to struggle with the very concepts.
W.The Kingdom of God and the Lordship of Christ are challenges to what we think is important and should have dominion over our lives. We freely grant dominion to government and allegiance to country. The challenge is to do not the same but even more for God and God's Kingdom. Yet a state religion is the last thing that Christianity wants to be (though it seems to be the goal of its most vocal hangers-on). The Kingdom of God replaces human institutions in the lives of believers without becoming a human institution. Governments and countries have and will pass away and yet the Kingdom of God remains. In this sense it is greater than anything else we have in our lives or anything else that does or will exist.
W.The Kingdom of God and Lordship of Jesus are meant to describe the supremacy of God. If the metaphor of divine government is no longer powerful enough to describe this is there no other metaphor that we can use in its place? Every other relationship we have pales by comparison. Should we liken God to our boss at work? Should we liken God to our teachers or mentors? Should we liken God to our role models? Should we liken God to our parents? Perhaps only in the latter case do we come to a relationship that is sufficiently robust (in most cases) to be fruitful. We don't get to choose our parents and so their supremacy is not a matter of our choosing. And the idea that God is our parent and we God's children is a biblical idea as well.
W.There are many parables credited to Jesus that begin, "The Kingdom of God is like..." To them I would add: The Kingdom of God is like a child's view of a parent -- at birth a child is totally helpless and dependent on its parent. It cannot feed itself. It cannot clean itself. It cannot save itself from danger. It cannot thrive and grow into a person without the care of a parent. It will not come to know anything that a parent does not see in love that it is taught. Its dependence is supreme and by the same token the power of the parent is too. What a parent gives a child is immeasurable and unearned. Whatever a child owes a parent is a response in kind. What we cannot pay back we pay forward -- to others and to our children.
the Kingdom of God we are all children in the arms of God.
In this kingdom God is at the center of our lives. Because of
we care for each other. This is the essence of the Kingdom of God.