love is

…eating cheesecake together.

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The Kingdom of God

What are your opinions of the Kingdom of God?

I once believe it is heaven, somewhere up there above the clouds with gold and angels everywhere, and of course where God is.

But now? I have a very different point of view regarding this.

It all started a few days ago, when I read The Heart of Christianity by Marcus J. Borg. I started to read in high school but I guess my capacity were not enough back then. Okay, so a few days ago I continued from the last chapter I read many years ago and I have not finished it yet. The last chapter I read was about the Kingdom of God.

I have to agree with this book, the Kingdom of God is not really emphasized in my church or my Bible studies in school, whereas it is one of the things emphasized in the New Testament. One evidence is it clearly stated in the Lord’s Prayer, “Thy kingdom come”.

I used to know that that phrase is metaphorical, Thy Kingdom come means we, and the Christian community, wait for Jesus’ coming for the second time. However, Borg questioned, why did Jesus said “kingdom” rather than “community” or “family”? He came to a conclusion; it was because of the context. When Jesus lived, there are the kingdom of Rome and other kingdoms on earth. What Jesus said was literally that kind of kingdom, hence the kingdom of God is a kingdom where God rules. Frankly, if The Kingdom of God means heaven, then heaven means earth where God rules. Heaven is not a place up there, it is right here on earth! This conclusion in the book struck me.

…and it did not stop there.

Today, I found out that Jason Mraz released his new album, and the last song of the album is “Love is still the answer

Click here to listen! It really is a good song.

Why are we here? To learn how to master peace or to master war? Why should we pick ourselves up and start over again?

There’s only one answer that matters, love is still the answer

Those lyrics in the song, they keep on repeating in my head.
When I think about the earth, it is full of bad politic system, injustice, the damage of nature. Even human relationships are not perfect; family, employers-employees, teachers-students, between countries, between races. This made me think,

do we, humans, learn to master peace or master war?

Then, I remembered again, about the Kingdom of God.

the Kingdom of God is earth where God rules.

I started to think, what it would be like if God rules the earth?
What would the laws be if God rules? What would the politic system be of God rules? If someone murdered a boy, would God punish the murderer? How would God punish him? What consolation would God bring to the victim’s family?
Would jobs be different if God rules? Would there be inventions and technology? How would God make use of technology?
What kind of culture would emerge if God rules?

And there are a lot more questions and possibilities in my head.

Then I stopped imagining things, and started to wonder…

How about now? With my own job and relationship with other beings in earth.
If God rules, how would he like my job be done? Is God happy with me doing my job this way, or God prefers me to do my job differently?
How about my relationship with others? If God rules, what would become of people from other races? What would the poor be like if God rules? Would there even be anyone who is poor?

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There’s only one answer that matters

Love.

When I think of the word love, the first think comes up at my mind is God. God is love.

I believe, God will rule the earth with love, which can not be separated from justice.
Jesus, when on earth, shouted justice to all. Borg mentioned in his book about how Jesus spent most of his life with the needy and poor, which is why his parables are mostly related to the lives of the poor and needy. Give us our daily bread, for instance, showed that Jesus taught this prayer to poor people who most likely starved and think of their daily bread only each day. It all make sense, Jesus came here to bring justice and love to the needy and the poor, who are treated unjustly and unloved by other people on earth.

So, yeah, I think I get a very little glimpse of how the earth will be when God rules, of the Kingdom of God.


I guess, it is much easier to say than act. I, myself, am not confidence in living the Kingdom of God.

Rather, I think I will always fall now and then. But why should we pick ourselves up and start over again? Yep, it is because of love, it is because of God. I believe we are not made out of accident (like in the song), but we are made out of love. And that is exactly why we have a purpose to live, to love, to bring the Kingdom of God to earth. It could always start with our mindset and do little things. We could always ask, how will it be done if God rules? And we could always pray in our hearts,

Thy kingdom come.

influence

do you realize that YOU influence people around you?

especially those who are really close to you

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in life, when we get close to someone, we get to know their personalities and be accustomed to them, and so do they. with/without knowing it, what they do will affect us, vice versa.

now try to remember. when they got mad of something, you’d be angry too; and when they rejoiced for something good, you’d be joyful too, right? they’re the evidence that you influence your friend and s/he also influences you.

keeping that in mind, we should act more carefully and thoroughly in some situations. no, not to make a mask and create another “personality”, but to control ourselves more so that we don’t give bad influence to the people we cherish the most. as stated before, we’re prone to anger when people we’re close to were angry. in that state, when we decided to be angry too, our beloved one would get angrier and there may be no end to it. that is one of the situations I believe we have to control ourselves. that way, you and your friend wouldn’t have to waste your energy by being in a negative state. conversely, you might want to calm yourselves and figure a way out together 🙂 it would be much better, wouldn’t it?

 

it’s really a blessing to have people we cherish

it’s truly a wonderful journey to grow together

It depends on how you perceive

Today I learn about spiritual parents, joy and sorrow.

I agreed that we experience –neutral– things that we later perceived as bad or good ones. That judgement of good and bad all starts from our mind, our prior experience and our motivation. For example, my boss gets mad to me this whole week. Due to our experience at home or maybe our motivation to do things perfectly, we could perceive that as failure and be sorrowful. In the other hand, we could perceive that as a gap for improvement. And so one experience could be perceived differently on how we look at it.

Does that mean we all have to perceive experience joyfully? Well, not always. The key is being truthful to yourself, is you perceive something negatively then it’s okay as long as you’re honest. However, never forget that as Nouwen said, there are both joy and sorrow in every experience. When you are in sorrow, remember and look at another perspective and maybe you could find joy. And when you are in joy, remember that it comes from sorrow or bring sorrow to someone else. That way, you feel more emotions and gratitude and experience God’s love more deeply, thus spiritually growing.

 

Reflection on Bread for the Journey, Henri Nouwen