Live as if God’s Kingdom is already here

There is a beautiful musical motet by the contemporary German composer Heinz-Werner Zimmerman entitled ‘Fear Not, Little Flock’.

By The Newsroom
Saturday, 6th August 2022, 7:26 am
Rev Morton
Rev Morton

In one recording I listened to recently, Zimmerman’s incomparable style was reflected in the fact that the motet had a syncopated rhythm that portrayed bounce and joy, which are still with me.

This piece of music struck a chord for me in more ways than one when, in preparation for this column, I read the Gospel reading for tomorrow: Trinity 8, from St Luke, Chapter 12, verses 32-40, in which Jesus said to His disciples: “Do not fear, little flock, because it is your Father’s will to give you the Kingdom”.

A few lines further on, Jesus advises His disciples to sell their possessions and give alms, “for where your treasure is, there your heart will also be”.

By treasure, Jesus meant the realisation of God’s love for us, and His love alive within us.

For Jesus that was the goal and destiny of life; to be fully in possession of God’s love, and to be possessed by it.

The views of the world were very different – success was to be measured in money, social standing, and public perception.

But for Jesus, heaven and the Kingdom of God are not merely some distant pie-in-the-sky promise, but rather a reality here already.

We live in the Kingdom in which, by faith, forgiveness can triumph over revenge, hope over despair, joy over sorrow, generosity over stinginess, love over apathy.

These are the characteristics of the Kingdom of Heaven and they gave Jesus daily power. These characteristics were the how He overcame the world.

The former Anglican bishop of Edinburgh Dr Richard Holloway has written that one way of thinking about the work and teaching of Jesus Christ is to see it as the creation of a community that would provide God’s end time now.

He taught His disciples not only to pray that God’s Kingdom would come on earth as it was in heaven, but to live as if it were already here.

Their community was to be marked by two characteristics rare in the power structures of the world: radical forgiveness at both the personal and political level, and to see the world from the bottom up, not the top down. God’s Kingdom was downside up. It was identified with the rejected, the despised and ignored.

With those at the bottom, the victims of power; not those at the top, the wielders of power.

Is not the great opportunity of the church today to become an instrument of the Kingdom, to bring to the world the realisation of God’s love? By that way, and that way alone, can the world be a better place.