This is That: How to See the Kingdom of Heaven in Everyday Living
For many of us, we don't just yearn for something better, away from this existence: we look for this one to be packed full of goodness and satisfaction. As a release and relief to the rigours and horrors of the here and now, a present day heaven would be a first choice if it weren't so unimaginable. This longed for, already tasted, sometimes-held-sometimes-lost rightness of life is the Kingdom of Heaven. When the Kingdom is experienced, we usually know it and appreciate it, even though we can't always define it or recognise its source. We know the feel of its breeze on our skin, naked and not ashamed.
The Kingdom of God is it. It's what we are all longing for, deep down: every human being on the planet. It is the way that we were always meant to live, our default culture. This Kingdom of Heaven has always been the number one plan for the earth and its inhabitants - birds, fish, animals and people. It is like a code or rhythm or set of musical motifs established a very long time ago, to which humanity and the whole of creation would live and move and have its being. The Kingdom is the call of the King: the song of the King, the breath of the King, the words, thoughts and actions of the King; in harmony with the many varied response of everything that the King has made.
Except there are also times when it disrupts, annoys and provokes in us reactions that seem the opposite of such peaceful satisfaction. Sometimes the presence of the Kingdom is experienced within and around us with an uncomfortable tension of glad rightness but also a secret and selfish bitter resentment, or even anger. It is so right and yet somehow feels aggravatingly wrong. We end up challenged to live differently, to think differently, to be different.
This is That explores some of the broad themes of the Kingdom of Heaven in five movements.
Part I outlines how the Kingdom plan is written into creation - into our humanity, our day to day, here and now. Part II explores the culture of the Kingdom, the time and place where righteousness, peace and joy are experienced and celebrated. Part III is about Jesus and the good news message he proclaimed: the "gospel of the Kingdom Part IV examines the roles of prophet, priest and king - biblical images and positions that describe how the Kingdom of Heaven is celebrated and governed. Part V is all about how to spot the signs of the Kingdom; what is new, or from a new age to come; what it means to suddenly really 'see', to say 'ah'!Each of these five parts is split into smaller sections, most of which have a pause for reflection at the end. This is to allow for some space to lift up our eyes, look, and possibly behold a glimpse of the Kingdom not far from where we are.
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