In the spirit the angel carried me away to a great, high mountain and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God. I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God is its light, and its lamp is the Lamb.

-Revelation 21:10,22

Dear Friends,

You've probably heard many times the phrase, "The Kingdom of God" or "The Kingdom of Heaven." This is an image Jesus used often, as a contrast to the Kingdom of the Romans, or more broadly to all the worldly Kingdoms we build.

There aren't a whole lot of formal Kingdoms left today, but we can recognize plenty of "little k" kingdoms still, all around us; every time we or anyone seeks to build our power separate from God, that's kingdom-building (and not the kind Jesus calls us to!).

Alternatively, we are in fact called to kingdom-building, if that kingdom is the Kingdom of God; characterized by all kinds of self-giving, compassionate, reconciling actions. ...That's our work. But there is also a very steady promise carried by the people of God that recognizes God's ultimate will of wholeness for the Creation, and that neither our worst or best efforts can change the reality of God eventually accomplishing a full Reconciliation. This is what Saint John's Revelation has been laying out before us this Easter season in the epistle (letter) readings each week.

The Kingdom of God has a playful aspect to it in terms of timing, and of how it manages to show up here, within our own time and place. The passage from Revelation, above, speaks of the "New Jerusalem" (the Kingdom of God) coming down out of heaven in glory and light; which also sounds like "Jacob's ladder" from the Old Testament, with angels ascending and descending from heaven. Jesus often says, "the Kingdom is among you" or "within you". Saint Paul wrote of being "caught up" into heaven; a sort of directional movement we also see as Moses, Elijah, and Jesus are taken up bodily at the end of their earthly walks.

Like so many other parts of the Bible which paint the same image from different vantages (the two back-to-back Creation stories, the four different Gospel accounts of the empty tomb...), these diverse visions of the how the Kingdom of God actually shows up are a blessing in their diversity, if we will accept the blessing.

Today might be a day when you don't know how to look within yourself for the Kingdom, but you do know how to let God show up with it. Or maybe it's a hard day for you to trust the Divine, but you can trust the Spirit living within you, or living within a friend.

Some days we want to be 'caught up' out of this world. Some days we know such holiness on earth that we'd rather heaven come here to us.

Somehow, it seems that these are each trustworthy ways that God works.

I hope this is encouraging to you.

I hope this lets you know that you can pray all kinds of different prayers - whatever comes to your heart and mind. I hope this lets you know that you can speak up for where you've seen God, even if you've never heard another person see God that way. I hope this lets you try something, something that seems like kingdom-building, even if "we've never done it that way." Saint John gave us one of the craziest books in the whole Bible, but it's inspired more songs and given us more language for prayer that most any other!

Whether you take the stairs, the ramp, the elevator, a slide a jetpack, or just recline in the easy chair...may you find yourself in the Kingdom this day, in the days to come, and most certainly in the great Day to Come.

In Wonder,