“If we only had eyes to see and ears to hear and wits to understand, we would know that the Kingdom of God in the sense of holiness, goodness, beauty is as close as breathing and is crying out to be born both within ourselves and within the world; we would know that the Kingdom of God is what all of us hunger for above all other things even when we don’t know its name or realize that it’s what we’re starving to death for. The Kingdom of God is where our best dreams come from and our truest prayers. We glimpse it at those moments when we find ourselves being better than we are and wiser than we know. We catch sight of it when at some moment of crisis a strength seems to come to us that is greater than our own strength. The Kingdom of God is where we belong. It is home, and whether we realize it or not, I think we are all homesick for it.”
Faith is not a slogan, it’s not a marketing campaign, it’s not a clever acrostic, it’s not fundraising, it’s not comfortable seating, it’s not smoke machines, it’s not theater lighting, it’s not my favorite song in my favorite key, it’s not strategies catered to my consumer appetite. In modern America, we’ve thanked God for creating us in His image and decided to return the favor; we created Him in our image. We’ve turned the bounty of His banquet table into another conference of trinkets. We re-branded Jesus from the ‘friend of sinners’ to the self-righteous protector of the chosen flock. We got in bed with the political powers of the empire of our day and no longer question the harlot we lie with. The grotesque scandal of the Cross has become a pretty package. This is not a faith I understand.
Faith is heartache. Faith is painful longing for home. Faith is a recognition that all that is presently is not what it will be. Faith is an understanding that the pain, suffering, violence, death and destruction we are living in was not intended that way. Faith is an admittance that we (humanity) have gone our own way and we are not better off for it. Faith is a longing to come home, to come home to the heart of the Father who is ripping through the walls of dimensions to reach us with His tsunami of love. Faith is stopping to realize that the One we long for has been on a frantic pursuit of us all along. Faith is understanding that He loves ALL His missing children the same. Faith is a recognition that the treasures and trusts of this world will never satisfy, that only the morsels from His table are the kind of food that doesn’t make us hungry anymore. Faith is a raw heartache to be home again with Him, a longing for all things to be as they were intended. No compromise, not one single inch of compromise.
We’ve forgotten our ‘story’. We’ve forgotten where we’ve come from. We’ve forgotten what He is like. We’ve forgotten who He is for us. Our very existence as the Church is not for our comfort, it’s for us to remind each other of our ‘story’. It’s for us to announce the reality of the coming of the Kingdom of God in all power and goodness. We are not here to judge the world, we are here to love it, serve it, sacrifice for it and participate in its redemption as our marching orders. Our language is love, joy, peace, grace, mercy, hope, justice, forgiveness and kindness towards all our neighbors. Faith is not pretty, it is raw and it is life.
We exist to create authentic Kingdom community and then give it away. We exist to carry this heartache for home with one another. Kingdom community is the life we all long for, it is what we were designed for. Don’t settle for counterfeits. If you don’t know of such Kingdom communities, go start one. I’ll help you. We swear singular allegiance to the King, all else is idol worship.
Amos 5:21-24 “I can’t stand your religious meetings.
I’m fed up with your conferences and conventions.
I want nothing to do with your religion projects,
your pretentious slogans and goals.
I’m sick of your fund-raising schemes,
your public relations and image making.
I’ve had all I can take of your noisy ego-music.
When was the last time you sang to me?
Do you know what I want?
I want justice—oceans of it.
I want fairness—rivers of it.
That’s what I want. That’s all I want.” (The Message)