Insights into the Kingdom

“The time has come,” Jesus said. “The kingdom of God is at hand.”
- Mark 1:15

As we wrestle with what it means to participate with Jesus in the remaking of the world into what it’s supposed to be, it might be helpful to do some thinking and imagining around Jesus’s term ‘the kingdom of God.’ Below are the definitions of three authors about the kingdom. How do they help you understand it? Where might be God be speaking to you about entering into it more deeply? What is striking you most about it? Take those things to God as you reflect on these insights today.

“The kingdom of God is the alternative society built around Jesus bringing forth the goal of the Law and the dream of the Prophets: Love for God and neighbor characterized by justice, mercy and humility. The kingdom of God is both now and not yet. But unless you’re willing to rethink everything (be born again and take it from the top) you won’t be able to see this kingdom, even though it’s already dawning.”

- Brian Zahnd

“Therefore, the church, which is *not* the Kingdom, is nevertheless its most *visible expression* and its most *faithful interpreter* in our age…as the community of believers from all times and places, the church both *embodies* the Kingdom in its life and *witnesses* to its presence and future in its mission.”

- Orlando Costas

“So, what is the Kingdom of Heaven? Biblical scholars have debated this question for almost as long as there have been biblical scholars. Many Christians, particularly those of a more evangelical persuasion, assume that the Kingdom of Heaven means the place you go when you die—if you’ve been “saved.” But the problem with this interpretation is that Jesus himself specifically contradicts it when he says, “The Kingdom of Heaven is within you” (that is, here) and “at hand” (that is, now). It’s not later, but lighter—some more subtle quality or dimension of experience accessible to you right in the moment. You don’t die into it; you awaken into it.”

- Cynthia Bourgeault