“As you go, proclaim this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.'” -Jesus (Matthew 10:7)
Another place this verse is translated, “The kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
Look at your hand. It’s physical, material, real. You shake other hands with it; work with it; serve with it.
The kingdom of God/heaven is as close as your hand. And it comes through your hands, and hands like yours.
One way the kingdom organizes its efforts is through “church.” Church, then, is like the “hands and feet” of God. The kingdom is the invisible becoming more visible.
Jesus barely mentions church, but he referred to “the kingdom” constantly. As if He was interested in introducing the authority, business, and way of God here on earth. The church gathers—in all kinds of ways—to remind people to be about the brining of the kingdom to earth.
We can’t let our divisions of church (501c3 orgs with endless brands) get in the way of collectively bringing the Kingdom to earth. We are people of a new way… the life and priorities of Jesus, springing up right here in the middle of self-serving, smaller kingdoms of this world. His is an upside-down, others-first, kingdom of humility and sacrifice.
The kingdom of Jesus draws crosses and doesn’t have time for categories.
The kingdom of Jesus gets its hands dirty, reaching for the hopeless and hurting.
The kingdom of Jesus hosts feasts for sinners and outsiders, sometimes bumping the prideful religious to a backseat.
The kingdom of Jesus has a King who stands on his balcony, looking to see when his wandering sons and daughters will return home.
The church helps us organize in practical ways. The kingdom is reflective of a KING still bringing His gentle rule to a self-interested people prone to mis the point.
And this kingdom is as close as your hand.