We spend most (if not all) of our time, within the church, expressing how people need the Kingdom of G_d. I whole heartedly agree with this…but (and it is a BIG but) that may be, only, half of the story. I’d argue that the Kingdom of G_d needs those people!
When I say that the Kingdom needs people, I’m not speaking (just) in terms of population but, also, of their influence. I’ve become convinced that the Kingdom of G_d is about hospitality as much, if not more than, as world dominance. In many ways hospitality is the acknowledgement that what I already possess and own is only made better when others have access to it…when they add their voice, talent, views, ideas, and creativity to it.
Who is welcomed at the the banquet table of the King? What does a guest bring to such and event? (Lk. 14)
The Kingdom is enriched by its broadness (Just search church history to get a sense of the broadness of the kingdom).
What would it look like if the way we engaged people went from: “You need the kingdom!” to “The Kingdom needs you!” What if we began to identify the beauty inherent in each person around us and declared, “You are exactly what the Kingdom needs to be better!”
I feel in so many ways that the way we approach the world about the Kingdom of G_d is to declare what isn’t ‘welcomed’ and therefore how the world should assimilate…
This reminds me of some of the tension that existed between Paul and the Apostles –> Paul welcomed the diversity and newness that the Gentiles brought into the Kingdom while the Apostles argued for assimilation (taking on the entirety of Torah) thereby making certain they knew where each of these ‘new’ believers stood in their commitment to the faith. [Makes sense when put this way – this is how I’ve come to see much of the church’s behavior over the years – we find ourselves arguing for the same thing as the Apostles]
**Paul obviously had some expectations of how one must belong to the Kingdom…but it was a short list – see Acts 15**
This approach will certainly add a great deal of messiness to the Kingdom but with any great and beautiful creative process comes a mess!
May we start to celebrate the diversity of the Kingdom of G_d and begin to welcome the world to add their voice! The Good News, in part, becomes the King welcomes your voice and your presence…and the Kingdom will be better for it!
ps. I pray that if this idea is new to you but the Kingdom isn’t…that you would know that your voice, creativity, and beauty makes the Kingdom better and I bless G_d for it.