Like most of us, I have been conditioned to think mainly in terms of time, not place. For this reason, I have always been drawn to the translation rendered “the reign of God” more than “the kingdom of God.” Time is important to God and should be important to us. And, certainly, understanding that as the Psalmist says, “God reigns” is very important! The important reality that God reigns was definitely a major part of Jesus’ constantly reiterated message that “the kingdom of God has come upon you,” and “the kingdom of God is here” and “the kingdom of God is within/among you.”
However, “place” is important to God as well. Beginning with the Creation of our world, God has been busy making a place for us to dwell in and call home. And yet, the mobility and transferability of our modern world has caused many of us to identify more loosely with specific places than the humans who lived prior to the European conquests of other lands, and even other continents and seas, beginning in the 1400’s. This mobility of conquest of “other lands” brought us into the beginnings of what is often called “the modern world”—a world where “place” tends to be a good bit more fluid. So fluid, that some of us humans even inhabit little globes orbiting the earth for months at a time—living in a space smaller than a living room and yet traveling at 1000’s of miles an hour and never in one single place for even one minute at a time.
I invite you to experiment with me in your prayers and thoughts. I am going to try to be more aware that one part of God’s revelation to us through Jesus is that each and every space we move within and into is a place that God claims as destined to be “God’s space, God’s kingdom.” This includes my physical body, and your physical body. It includes our house, our car, our living room, our bedroom . . . . It also includes the block you live on, your town, your nation, and the entire earth.
It also includes the “community of faith/faithfulness”—ie, “the body of the Messiah.” So, yes, it includes your church building, but it equally includes your rec and tv room. God desires to live with us and through us in all of our spaces—to include them in “the kingdom of God” until someday “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah” (Revelation 11:15).
One part of me says, of course I know all of this. Another part of me is honest enough to say that in many ways thinking like this, and really understanding the power of this reality, is pretty foreign to my reflexive ways of thinking. When I go for a walk, I may thank God for the beautiful world, but I do not reflexively think of it as God’s Temple that I am walking through. When I visit my friends’ home, I may well thank God for the wonderful relationship with my delightful friends, but I do not reflexively think of myself as sitting in “God’s house” as we visit in their living room.
So, would you join me in experimenting with being more intentional about inviting God to claim all of these spaces that rightfully belong to God? And, would you let me know what experiences this has brought about for you in the past? Or, what new experiences this brings about for you going forward?