The Kingdom of God is so near
it is almost here…
Matthew 4: 17
We start Lent in the wilderness, but the good news, if we dare to believe it, is that the kingdom of God is near and if we repent it could soon be HERE!
Yes, it is near, but so far because so many of us must repent before it can be seen here through the will of God being done on earth as in heaven. YOU, and me, are just the beginning, but change will start from the grass roots growing up so our voices produce the words that can be scattered like seeds that find fertile soil and produce the harvest of hope for the future. That’s one of the parables that Jesus tells to describe the Kingdom of God so if your faith has been trampled into the ground, choked by the worries of life or withered in the heat of the challenging days if we repent we will find the Kingdom is near. That’s good news, isn’t it! It is near and will be here if we repent!
That repenting is not in changing the words we scatter as if buying a different packet of seeds. It requires us to prepare our soil so that we can receive the words as God intended; to actively clear away the rocks and weeds so that we are not choked by fear or burnt out by the pressures around us. The Kingdom of God is near and can be here when we, as humans, repent for with a new attitude we will care for creation better than we do. In the caring more for creation we will better share the resources that will give more people the opportunities to feel that they BELONG to the one kingdom, the same family, embraced by the Love of our one heavenly Father. To care for the planet is to care for each other!
As we go into the wilderness together it is like going back to the beginning where everything is empty, dark and chaotic, but the Spirit of God is hovering, listening for the Word that will restore light and life if we resist the temptations we will encounter. The caring starts in the wilderness, not always in the green fields! We sow life into the emptiness for the harvest to grow, not in fields where the harvest is ready! Perhaps Covid has taken us into our wilderness, back to the beginning so that we can prepare to receive the seeds that God scatters. The Kingdom of God is near and if we repent it can soon be here if we resist the temptations in the wilderness and let every word from the mouth of God help new life grow!
This evening Chris Walters will reflect on how as an eco church we can contribute to changing our attitude so we can protect the planet, and each other. I will introduce his reflection with the following words:
“On this first Sunday in Lent the message we get is that the Time has Come or, as in our introduction, “The time is Now” to act and make a difference. The time has come to repent and believe the good news that the Kingdom of God is near just beneath the surface of pollution, abuse and exploitation. It’s time to prepare for a big Spring clean, to get the duster out and brush away the cobwebs, dirt and dust to rediscover the beauty of the Kingdom God planned in the beginning. All that is good hasn’t yet been lost forever, but is like sun, moon and stars hidden by clouds and if we clean up our act we can reveal the beauty behind the mess. Repent, for the Kingdom of God is near!
Jesus then calls busy people to stop what they are doing and to follow him so that we will become disciples with love as the bait that catches people for God. Can we stop what we are doing and help Jesus save the world that our Father loves and wants to restore to the good of its beginning….? By becoming an eco church we have committed ourselves to living differently, to leave some old habits behind and believe that good news will happen! I have asked Chris to reflect on what we have done and what we can do as we follow Jesus to make this a better world….”