FAITH IN FOCUS: THE INVISIBLE FORCE
Christians sometimes focus so much on the Church that they lose sight of the kingdom. They tend to think that the Church is the be-all and end-all of religious activity and they can become blind to the kingdom of God.
Yet the kingdom and the Church are not the same things. The Church is the bearer of the kingdom but not the exclusive owner. The kingdom, which Jesus today speaks about in his parables, is wider than the Church and is not so visible and tangible.
Jesus taught his disciples that the kingdom is already with us, though it can seem to be hidden. It has already been inaugurated, though it is yet to reach its fulfilment. Day after day it is unfurled, little by little in an almost unnoticeable way.
The ideals of the kingdom clash with the values of the world. That’s because the kingdom is eternal and universal whereas the world is about fads and fashion, about exclusivity and partiality. The kingdom is about truth and life, whereas the world happily lies and trades in destruction of all types.
The kingdom espouses holiness and grace, concepts which the secular world considers laudable but outmoded. And the kingdom’s principles of justice, love and peace are more likely to be echoed in the world’s pop songs than in its strategies. Does this mean that we’ve nothing to hope for? That injustice, violence, corruption and oppression will always be with us? Is it just par for the course?
Jesus says not. With his arrival on earth the kingdom of God has begun to embed itself in all aspects of our world. There are invincible forces already at work as the world matures and the kingdom silently grows. Like a seed planted in a field it grows unobtrusively, by day and by night. Like a mustard seed it starts off tiny but becomes a force to be reckoned with. And even now we sometimes catch a glimpse of the power of the kingdom when world events are confounded and when men and women, even just for a moment, unite in a shared vision that reflects the will of God.
The kingdom is here now. The way we behave will help or hinder it. But it’s bigger than all of us put together. That’s why we pray: Thy kingdom come.