02 October 2008

Kingdom of Heaven

I was asked to write about the Kingdom of Heaven for next years Lenten devotional. It's due tomorrow. I have written, re-written and tossed out much. How do you explain the Kingdom of Heaven? It is hard to describe in concrete terms.

I think the best way is to share how I came to realize it was something for my present and not the distant future. The first time I got a good look at the Kingdom was in an airport in California. My dad had retired from the Air Force and we had moved to Okinawa Japan as missionaries for the Navigators.

We had come home for the summer and were trying to return. We were using the military space available program. With daddy being retired and needing six seats we were on the bottom of the list. I was praying throughout the days and often said the Lord’s Prayer. While I was praying for God’s will to be done on earth I really wasn't doing anything to make it happen. Living 21 days in an airport teaches you much about yourself.

I decided that much like I was an American in Japan, I was also a human in God's Kingdom. Just as I had to apply for a visa to stay in Japan, Christ's sacrifice was my visa for the Kingdom. When we first moved I had experiences outside my comfort zone. I got to share with others about my homeland. I began to learn Japanese. I found many similarities living in the Kingdom. God frequently takes me out of my comfort zone. I get to share with others what it is like in His Kingdom. I learned that the language in His Kingdom is love.

There are also differences. If you think learning Japanese is hard, try talking to everyone all day long in love. The good news is that while I had no extraordinary help for Japanese, I have a great tutor in speaking love. All I have to do is to ask the Holy Spirit to give me the love to share and it is there. There are many rules for an alien living in Japan. In the Kingdom there are only two rules.

1. Love the Lord with all you have
2. Love your neighbor as your self.

As I have grown older and a little bit wiser I realize that unlike being held within the borders of a country, I take the Kingdom of Heaven with me everywhere I go.

Praying that what others see in me makes them want to claim their citizenship here,


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