As we survey our world today, we see a lot of fallenness. We’re still in a worldwide pandemic. Unemployment has skyrocketed and finances are tight. Race relations are strained. There are riots and violence in our streets. The opioid epidemic continues. Suicide rates have increased. And the list goes on.
It appears that a kingdom of darkness has won the day, but appearances can be deceiving.
There is another kingdom at play in our world. It is the kingdom of God, of truth, justice, peace, and reconciliation. God’s kingdom is not an abstract or poetic idea. While not as loud, shocking, or abrasive as sin, it is truly here and it has an unimaginable power to change lives and societies.
While not principally of this world, the kingdom of God is nonetheless manifested in it. Such a kingdom is being brought about by God and it has been entrusted to his children. It is precisely our task, as his children, to manifest this kingdom of love and light. Knowing of this kingdom’s inner strength, we constantly pine for and labor to bring it about in our own hearts and in our world today.
In the midst of the fallenness, brokenness, and sinfulness of our world, we fight for righteousness and cry out as God’s children: “Thy kingdom come!”
This simple utterance gives an extraordinary expression to all our hopes, our heartfelt desires, and our hard work by which we eagerly await for truth to triumph over falsity and for goodness to prevail over evil.
The kingdom of God rallies against deceit. It dispels darkness, vanquishes evil, and responds to harm with promises of healing. God’s kingdom seeks tranquility between God and humanity. It labors for reconciliation between all people. It dwells always in the hope of redemption and of the triumph of God’s goodness over all things.
The sharing of this kingdom is the mission of the children of God, and with righteous indignation we shout out in the face of wickedness and depravity, “God’s kingdom come!”
The living God is not a clockmaker. He did not merely create the designs of the world, watch it fall, and then remove himself to watch the show as an idle bystander. Nor is he a puppet master. The living God does not respond to the world’s evil by taking over our free will and then angrily use us as mere pawns in his plan.
Rejecting both of these postures, the true God has entered into our fallen world. He toils, labors, and combats with evil so as to bring about his kingdom of light, salvation, and true peace. As such, the Sacred Scriptures hail him as the “Mighty Warrior” and the “Wonderful Counselor,” since he is in the thick of the battle and will not succumb to evil nor surrender to darkness.
We have been made sharers of his kingdom. He has commissioned us and called us to fight for him, on behalf of him, and alongside him. He has empowered us, ennobled us, and sent us to bring about his kingdom. In this way, each of us – as his beloved children – are ourselves a living answer to the question about where God’s goodness and power can be seen in the midst of evil and darkness.
So, we tread our way through the sorrows and sufferings of life, and call upon our higher natures. We look above for wisdom. We search for goodness and work to be instruments of peace. We throw off the evils and heaviness of this world and we earnestly seek the light and comfort of God’s kingdom.
We labor to live the powerful summons, voiced by many holy ones, and synthesized best by Saint John of the Cross: “Where there is no love, put love, and you will find love.”
This is the task and the commission of the children of God. The response of raw anger, bitterness, self-pity, negativity, and violence are not options for us. We hear the whisper of these darker spirits and we cast them out. In spite of them, we boldly open our hearts in love and service to others. We defiantly hope and zealously labor for salvation, peace, understanding, and mutual acceptance.
This is the way of the living God. This is the our commission as his children. This is reality for which we longingly cry out, “Thy kingdom come!”
Follow Father Jeffrey Kirby on Twitter: @fatherkirby