Catching Glimpses of the Kingdom of God
Optional Scripture: Isaiah 11:1-10 (lectionary text)
These verses from Isaiah begin by comparing the new king to a new tree sprouting from a stump, new life from what had been cut down and left for dead.
The next few verses describe what this new king will be like, what he will do, how he will rule. He will be Different. “He will not judge by appearance or hearsay; he will judge the poor fairly and defend the rights of the helpless”…Very Different!
Finally, his kingdom is described…talk about Different : wolves and sheep, lions and calves, poisonous snakes and babies, all living together in peace. How can this be? Remember the parables of Jesus which begin “The Kingdom of God is like…”? It is God’s Peace, His Kingdom. But it’s not something we wait for only in the sweet-bye-and-bye; it can be here, now, within each of us.
I have been on many mission trips over the years. All of them have involved people Doing Different, Being Different, catching glimpses of the Peace of God, the Kingdom of God. I remember one time our youth went to West Palm Beach. We were in a rough neighborhood littered with drug paraphernalia and debris. Our task was to clean the yard and sidewalk around an elderly lady’s house. People threw trash in her yard and she felt helpless. We picked up, mowed, pruned, and even uncovered remnants of flowerbeds she used to be able to care for. We spent time visiting with her and sharing why we were there.
Before we left, we were approached by the man who ran a tiny grocery store across the street. He was so impressed by what our group had done, he offered cool drinks and snacks. Then some of our youth asked him if he would join us in prayer. So there in the middle of the street was the grocer, the elderly lady, several neighbors, and us, holding hands in a big circle and praying for each other and the neighborhood! Do you think God’s Peace, God’s Kingdom, was present? …I Do.