Daily Office Readings for Wednesday of Proper 4: Year 1
“Once Jesus was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God was coming, and he answered, ‘The kingdom of God is not coming with things that can be observed; nor will they say, “Look, here it is!” or “There it is!” For, in fact, the kingdom of God is among you:’” (Luke 17:20 and 21).
I think this is the greatest secret of all time; the kingdom of God is taking incremental steps more and more right here on earth, it is the evolution of the kingdom of heaven; it is “Thy kingdom come, on earth as it is in heaven.”
We are not to wait until we get to heaven. We are to bring heaven here. Yes, we have a long way to go. And this place can’t be heaven for some and not for others. We are already citizens of heaven but far too many of us have not been acting like it.
I see heaven as a place where we all love each other. The step by step process of making this place heaven is simply each of us learning to listen to each other more intently. We would normally think that language would be a barrier, but we fail to listen to our brothers and sisters who speak our tongue. Listening requires being able to “be” the other. It requires us to perhaps not return speech at all. Heaven then, is a listening space, not a speaking space.
Jesus says “the kingdom of God is not coming with things that can be observed.” I think the kingdom of God is coming with things that can be heard. It is not coming with things that can be seen and therefore there will be no need to say “Look, here it is,” or, “There it is.”
We were not created when God saw us into being. We were brought into being when God spoke, “Let there be…” Even nothingness listened. While listening is important, it must be managed
We jam our ears with noise all day. Our phones, TV’s, radios and devices take over our minds and block out the kingdom of God. We need listening downtime. We need to listen to our neighbor face to face and mouth to ear. This then is heaven right here, right now. Listening leads to learning, learning leads to loving, loving brings us the kingdom of God, which is already here if we would but listen.
The next time you are conversing with someone take note of how much time the other gives you to really organize your thoughts and then speak with compassion. Take note of how much time you give the other to organize their thoughts and then speak with compassion. The kingdom of God is speaking with compassion. The kingdom is already among us. We just need to listen.
Let us live to love, more than just love to live, listening to what the Spirit is saying to, and through, the saints of God, while pondering anew what the Almighty can do. John