Kingdom of God
Good Works exists to connect people from all walks of life with
people in poverty so that the kingdom of God can be experienced.
By Kingdom of God, we mean…
- The experience of the love of God to the degree that we begin to have new mentality: a deeper understanding of ourselves and our purpose in life. God’s encompassing love renews our vision for the value of other human beings. We can finally see what is truly important in this life and arrange our priorities and routines differently.
- The experience of the unlimited forgiveness of Jesus Christ. Jesus liberates us from the burden of our deep woundedness, which occurs simply by living in this fallen world. Christ in us then empowers us to forgive others who harm us either intentionally or accidentally. By grace alone, we are able to keep “short lists”.
- The experience of divine soundness of mind, welling up from the Trinity’s love and forgiveness. Our very minds are healed from all types of ill-health, and are filled with clarity and confidence. Wholeness is in our bones, allowing us to persevere in overcoming evil with good.
- The experience of the community of those loved by God, the beloved. Here we taste growing relationships with healthy boundaries that inspire and sustain a lifestyle of worship. Our worship necessarily includes intentional, spontaneous and humble service towards others. We are stirred to develop authentic friendships with people across society’s many dividing lines. Desiring our communion to be with people who are struggling with poverty, we understand the beloved community to be inclusive.
- The experience of the grace of God which gives us the ability to live through our own suffering and pain with a thankful heart. The overflow of God’s grace in our lives enables us to take on or bear the burdens of other people. God changes the bitterness of suffering into grace-fullness.
- The experience of the counsel of the Holy Spirit which gives us the daily guidance we need to navigate our own lives together with others. Through God’s wisdom, we can comfort, encourage and admonish others, guiding them to be their absolute best.
- The experience of deep meaning in life; the discovery of a fountain of living water. The Trinity’s presence with us quenches our thirst, and we no longer must dig in the dryness of unfulfilling tasks, reputations, relationships, and possessions.
- The experience of being free from people and systems who have treated us unjustly thus distorting the image of God in us. Such freedom allows us to see our past with gratitude and understanding and look ahead with hope and expectation. With our energy, we are urged to create new relationships and structures that embody justice.
By Kingdom (or reign) of God, we mean…
- The kingdom of God is now and among us today, and equally so, not yet. Our glimpses of the kingdom here on earth are symbols of the kingdom in its eternal fullness. Thus, our kingdom experiences often appear small and insignificant, like a mustard seed. But, mustard grows like crazy (Mark 4:30-32)! Sometimes, we cannot see the kingdom, and then, it lives in us quietly and fervently through hope. We yearn for its consumation.
- The kingdom of God happens when we go and learn what this means: “I desire mercy, not sacrifice.” Jesus came to call not the righteous but sinners, so to experience the kingdom, we need to realize our brokenness (Matt 9:12-13). The kingdom of God is where we continually repent from our sins, receive God’s mercy and begin again to live as servants of the Lord of Mercy by extending steadfast love into others’ lives (Matt 4:17).
- The reign of God is where the people who are lowly and poor in our societies are favored, blessed, shown mercy, lifted up, filled with good things, and remembered (Luke 1:46-55). We experience the kingdom of God when our community embodies these values and welcomes the outsider. The kingdom of God is where God scatters the proud in the thoughts of their hearts, the powerful are brought down from their thrones, and the rich are sent away empty (Luke 1:46-55). We experience the kingdom when our community continues to renounce injustice for the sake of economic gain, excessive wealth, and pride.
- The reign of God is freedom from greed and bondage to material wealth (Matt 19:16-30). It is living a simple and generous lifestyle, sharing our resources in community and with people struggling with poverty. It is trusting God to sustain us with daily bread (or rice, as the case may be!) (Matt 6:25-34).
- The kingdom of God is willingness to sacrifice comfort, wealth, security, family, relationships and life itself in the footsteps of Jesus (Matt 19:27-30). These costly actions are offered humbly and joyfully.
- The reign of God is where God’s power is active: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the poor have good news brought to them (Luke 7:18-23). These miraculous things happen when our community is surrendered to the movement of God’s healing, freeing Spirit among us.
The kingdom of God is where God’s overarching peace or shalom, is flowing. It is where the nations will “beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nations shall not lift up swords against nation, neither shall they learn war any more” (Isaiah 2:4). It is where the cycle of violence loses its grip and a circle of forgiveness begins. The reign of God is where people are reconciled to God, to others and to creation. It is where people and creation flourish under God’s reign of love.