The activities of the Kingdom of Heaven.

Last week I mentioned a few activities of the Kingdom, this week it is Jesus’ turn to mention another.  But, first, we need to clear up this whole Kingdom thing. 

The Kingdom of the Heavens is not Heaven.  Jesus is not really concerned with us humans getting up to Heaven.  That is not why he was sent down to Earth.  He came down to Earth to bring what is in the heavens down—namely the Reign of God. 

God tried this once through a group of people he named Israel.  God gave his people Moses to lead and His law (small “l” law).  That law was a marker of their identity.  It was given to set this people of Israel apart from the heathen and pagan nations around them.  Part of that identity was the virtue of neighborliness.  That is what our reading from Leviticus makes clear.  However, Israel failed to bring the reign of God to earth, which included neighborliness.  And because Israel failed, God failed.  That sounds strange to say, but it is true.  Israel failed in their calling to be the people of God and embody God’s kingdom on earth.  What did God do?  Did he mope around?  Did he pack up his bag and leave?  Off to another world leaving this blue planet cosmically cut-off and forsaken?  Nope.  He sent his Son into the midst of this Earth.  He sent his Son from his place in the Heavens down to the Earth to Bring the Kingdom. 

The Mission of Jesus was to bring the Kingdom.  And he brought it; so-much-so that the people of this earth, particularly the Israelites, had enough of Jesus.  By this time in the Gospel according the Luke the Pharisees and Sadducees, the chief priests and elders of the people are ready to kill Jesus.  Why are they ready to kill him?  He is bringing the Kingdom.  It is not because Jesus has some Anselmian death wish.  No, Israel wants to kill Jesus because he is bringing the Kingdom of God.  And, when the Kingdom of God is brought all other Kingdoms fade away. 

So it is to be with all of you.  I am standing here to tell you, you are in the Kingdom.  All other Kingdoms need to vanish in your life.  That does not mean you are on your way to heaven. That means you believe God through this Earth and all of you precious enough to send his Son down here.  That means you believe the Kingdom got dropped on people in Jesus.  It means you believe that Kingdom got dropped on your in Baptism.  That water hits HARD!!  You are called to be the holy ones of the Creator God.  What does the Kingdom of Heaven look like in action?  It looks like a group of people putting away racial boundaries, class boundaries, status boundaries, for the sake of caring for their neighbor and faithfulness to their Lord.  So, are you ready?  Are you ready to be people of the Kingdom?  Are you ready to start acting like you believe the Reign of God began in Jesus has now fallen on all of you?  Then you too, go and do as this Samaritan.  Amen.