Dear Friends,

 We pray you are safe and well.

Today's Meditation comes to us from Richard Rohr and Brian McLaren. It invites us to a new way of looking at things. This coming Sunday the Church celebrates The end of the Church Year and the Feast of Christ the King and this meditation encourages a new way of looking at things and acting.

 

We invite you to join us as we commit ourselves to working tirelessly to end systemic and structural racism in our society, in healthcare, in the workplace, in the Church--wherever it shows up so that everyone may come to have more abundant life. May this meditation nourish our contemplative-active hearts and sustain all of us in action.

 

In the spirit of our philosophy of co-creating community and our awareness that the Spirit speaks through each of us, we invite you to share your meditations with us as well. We truly believe that in God’s economy of abundance, when we share our blessings, our thoughts, our feelings, we are all made richer.

We hope and pray that you and your loved ones experience genuine peace of mind and heart, and remain in good health during this challenging time.

 

In this "Season of Ordinary Time" in the Church Year, may this be a time of peace, of healing and hope, of the infusion of joy in your life!

 

With our love and care,

 

Ron & Jean

 

MEDITATION 206: A new way of looking at things and acting

 

Jesus and the Reign of God

The Kingdom's “Common Sense”

Friday,  November 20, 2020

 

My friend and colleague Brian McLaren has thought deeply and practically about what Jesus means when he speaks of the “Kingdom of God.” He views it as synonymous with the Gospel itself.

 

Jesus proposed a radical alternative—a profoundly new framing story that he called good news. News, of course, means a story—a story of something that has happened or is happening that you should know about. Good news, then would mean a story that you should know about because it brings hope, healing, joy, and opportunity. . . .

 

The term kingdom of God, which is at the heart and center of Jesus’ message in word and deed, becomes positively incandescent in this kind of framing. As a member of a little colonized nation with a framing story that refuses to be tamed by the Roman imperial narrative, Jesus bursts on the scene with this scandalous message: The time has come! Rethink everything! A radically new kind of empire is available—the empire of God has arrived! . . . Open your minds and hearts like children to see things freshly in this new way, follow me and my words, and enter this new way of living. At every point, the essence of his kingdom teaching subverts the “common sense” of the Roman Empire and all its predecessors and successors:

 

Don’t get revenge when wronged, but seek reconciliation.

 

Don’t repay violence with violence, but seek creative and transforming nonviolent alternatives.

 

Don’t focus on external conformity to moral codes, but on internal transformation in love.

 

Don’t love insiders and hate or fear outsiders, but welcome outsiders into a new “us,” a new “we,” a new humanity that celebrates diversity in the context of love for all, justice for all, and mutual respect for all.

 

Don’t have anxiety about money or security or pleasure at the center of your life, but trust yourself to the care of God.

 

Don’t live for wealth, but for the living God who loves all people, including your enemies.

 

Don’t hate your enemies or competitors, but love them and do to them not as they have done to you—and not before they do to you—but as you wish they would do for you. . . .

 

The phrase “kingdom of God” on Jesus’ lips, then, means almost the opposite of what an American like me might assume, living in the richest, most powerful nation on earth. To a citizen of Western civilization like me, kingdom language suggests order, stability, government, policy, domination, control, maybe even vengeance on rebels and threats of banishment for the uncooperative. But on Jesus’ lips, those words describe Caesar’s kingdom: God’s kingdom turns all of those associations upside down. Order becomes opportunity, stability melts into movement and change, status-quo government gives way to a revolution of community and neighborliness, policy bows to love, domination descends to service and sacrifice, control morphs into influence and inspiration, and vengeance and threats are transformed into forgiveness and blessing.

 

 

Brian McLaren, Everything Must Change: Jesus, Global Crises, and a Revolution of Hope (Thomas Nelson: 2007), 77, 99–100, 125.