Meditation: State of the Kingdom of Heaven Address
After listening to the State of the Union Address this week I imagined what issues a “State of the Kingdom of Heaven ” speech might address. This is the context of this week’s meditation.
“No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the Kingdom of heaven. Luke 9:62 “The field is the world, the good seeds are the sons (and daughters) of the kingdom….Matthew 13:38
Ladies and Gentleman, we are a people who have pledged our allegiance to a kingdom which is not of this world. We are a citizenry who lives within a borderless land. As we seek first the Kingdom of Heaven we sense her mysteries. We have been taught that the Kingdom of Heaven is like a well plowed field and that anyone who has put the hand to the plow, but then looks back, is not up to the calling of citizenship.
If we remain committed to those things we feel we are losing, we can not walk in faith. Like good seeds we birth, in faith, the Kingdom here on earth. We continue to experience these principles when our spirits pass on. We are not only born of flesh and blood but of water and of Spirit. Our Kingdom is not about eating and drinking but it is of righteousness, peace, and Joy. The Kingdom of Heaven is in the past, the present and the future. We are first and foremost citizens of an eternal kingdom.
The temporal, earthly state of the Union of the United States was addressed this week. But, the state of the citizens of the eternal, spiritual Kingdom of Heaven is seldom addressed. It is unpopular to point out those areas where our dual citizenships clash. Many of us have pledged our allegiance to both the United States and to the Kingdom of Heaven and have not considered the wisdom or the challenges of doing so. The focus of worldly kingdoms is power which uses malice, war and fear to reach its goals but the Kingdom of Heaven is righteousness, peace and joy.
The core of worldly citizenship is a focus on material things which satisfy physical wants and needs. The desire for more (and fear of not having physical comfort) fuels our competition for money and natural resources. Alternatively, the citizen of the Kingdom of Heaven focuses on the things of the Spirit. Love replaces the fear of want. Citizens of the temporal world store up treasures on earth but citizens of the eternal world invest in acts of love and kindness where decay can not destroy.
Rather than asking what else can I get, the Kingdom followers ask what more can I live without? What more can I share with others? The earthly citizen looks to comfort as a measure of success but the spiritual citizen enjoys right living and the bounty of the fruits of the Spirit which are: love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. There is no law against these things.
So, as we address the state of the Kingdom of Heaven we consider our attitudes and actions. Which things motivate our actions? Are we moved to action by fear or moved to action by love? Are we depressed by what we perceived we do not possess or are we filled with joy for what we can share? Do we support and explain away Christians who support war or do we preach peace and pursue it? Do we look to immediate self-gratification or do we rest in the confidence of our faith.? Do we look to aggression and violence to solve problems or do we bring kindness to all situations? Do we seek relief of our suffering at all costs or are we willing to suffer long? Do we use force to get our way or do we treat all people with gentleness? Do we explain away our bad behavior as “human instinct“ or do we practice spiritual discipline and self -control?
We have put our hand to the plow and desire not to look back to the fallow land of earthly kingdom citizenship. Instead we, the children of the heavenly Kingdom, are to be seeds planted in fertile soil here on earth. The world cries out to us to demonstrate a better way than the way of man-made kingdoms. One modern-day prophet challenges us to “be the change we want to see.”
In conclusion I proclaim in confidence that The State of the Kingdom of Heaven is strong, constant and eternal. The state of her citizens however requires passionate vigilance. As the parable reminds us, weeds have sabotaged the field. Earthly wisdom calls for pulling them out by their roots but Spiritual wisdom knows that those seeds which have deep roots will be produce a bountiful harvest of love no matter what surrounds them.
Those who have ears who hear the still small voice of the Spirit know that we are enlarging the Kingdom of Heaven and bringing forth fruit. We are salt, we are light, we are yeast, we are well watered gardens, we are plowed fields we are living vines. We are the Kingdom of Heaven here on earth. So, with this “state of the Kingdom Address” I challenge each of us to go deep in our fertile earth and bring forth divine action.
Prayer: Creator and Divine Presence we pledge in a fresh way our allegiance to the spiritual Kingdom of Heaven. We are your citizens here on earth. Help us to plow the fallow fields and plant ourselves deeply in your land no matter what grows up around us. In faith we know that living water and your eternal Spirit will spring forth green sprouts and grow to bear fruit. - Amen
Action: Read the verses which describe the Kingdom of Heaven. Read with the heart rather than the mind. Reflect upon them in a new way. In the past the focus has been on escaping this earth. It was about a location rather than a condition of the heart. Consider that we become Kingdom citizens when we are reborn in the Spirit and are eternal. In which fertile fields are your seeds of faith growing?
If you are planting a physical garden this spring consider buying your seeds online from http://www.turtletreeseed.com/ where your money goes to support the special needs communities of Camphill Village http://www.camphill.org/