Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Kingdom of God

" The kingdom of God does not come visibly, nor will people say, 'Here it is' or There it is', because the kingdom of God is within you." Luke 17:20-21

One day early last spring I was visiting with my mother and took a long walk on the beach with my camera in hand. My mother and I had finished breakfast, and the day was warming up, so I set out alone. Before I left the house, my Mom and I had been talking about waiting on God's direction, and how difficult it was to be patient. She is a great prayer warrior and a lot more patient than I am. She seems un-flustered by things that easily fluster me. It was a brilliant day, light sparking off the ocean and I walked the familiar beach, my head full of memories building for a life time. Family, friends and life's conundrums washed through my mind unimpeded. I was relaxed and reflective, soaking in the sun. I took a few pictures of the sand and the surf. After a few snaps, I began to realize that in every frame, I was capturing an image of a cross. I saw a cross in the flotsam at the high tide line, the patterns in the dune grass, in the hurricanes fences and just about everywhere else. I didn't rearrange things, didn't touch anything before I took any picture, it just happened. And then it struck me, the direction I had been so desperately looking for was there. In the cross. My directions were simply to follow Jesus, follow the cross and see where it leads.

"The kingdom of God does not come visibly....the kingdom of God is within you." I saw the cross, but that seeing alone isn't the full measure of the reign of God. The reign of God was within me, the opening of my heart to God and God's direction. My willingness to hear and see the call to follow. Like many folks, I desperately want to know what's ahead at the end of the road. I want answers and clear structure for my future. The kingdom of God, I find, is most apparent when I let go to God, take up my cross and follow. The kingdom and presence of God are most real when I release my desires to the wind and offer my life at the foot of the cross - to Jesus. It is revealed most when I just let God be God and me be me. For me at least, letting go is easier said than done.

So for today, I want to let God be God, and me be me, and pray for the revelation of God's kingdom within me and among us in the world. How extraordinary - that God should promise to be in our midst, within us, around us and waist deep in the mess of our world. I want to live today with eyes that see, hands that feel and a heart that knows the presence of God. I want to let go to control. Just for today, let me follow. May we all have the measure of courage and patience it takes to let God take control and the strength to follow where God leads.

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