First Signs of the In-Breaking Kingdom of God
From Our Pastor
“First Signs of the In-Breaking Kingdom of God”
When Jesus gives us a template for prayer he says [Matthew 9b-13]:
Our Father who art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy name.
10 Thy kingdom come,
Thy will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread;[a]
12 And forgive us our debts,
As we also have forgiven our debtors;
13 And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil.
And in the traditions of the Church we have added:
For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever – AMEN
As we move through the season of Lent let us be aware of the signs of God’s in-breaking kingdom. Yes, what Jesus calls the kingdom of G is God’s preferred is coming at us from the future. God is not waiting for some dramatic all-at-once revelation of “a new heaven and a new earth.” That eternal reality is constantly breaking into our present. Theologian SØren Kierkegaard once remarked that “The future is God’s middle name! And we get to co-create it in this life!
Signs of God’s in-breaking kingdom come on-earth-as-it-is-in-heaven include young and old professing their faith in Jesus Christ and joining Jesus’ Church, healing of relationships and broken hearts, new energy and spiritual passion for helping others as Jesus to Jesus, renewed study and hunger to know God’s Word, rebirth and renewal.
After weathering a two-plus-year “perfect storm” of COVID and its variants, upheaval and uncertainty in the United Methodist Church, and widely differing perceptions and feelings about pastoral leadership, we are able to see newness and renewal – sure signs of God’s preferred future breaking in upon us like the breaking of a new day. I celebrate with you these signs of new life springing from pruned bushes that still burn with the visible fire of God’s Presence:
- We are hungry and thirsty to be together in the flesh after so may restrictions and precautions
- People are joining the church and rejoining the gathered church in worship, Sunday classes, fellowships, and missional engagement – attendance and participation are moving up!
- We have a new adult Sunday School class
- Our giving is growing as we foster trust and faith the church
- The missions and ministries of our Circles of Care are active and growing
- We are “taking it to the streets” with our Ashe County Summer Reading Adventure, celebrating the growing number of church and community partners
- The spiritual “temperature” of our congregation is perfect for planting and growing ministry
- GS, please add other indicators of new life
Well done good and faithful servants. “We serve a risen Savior who is in the world today.” Go, follow him. Take authority and respond to the emerging needs around you. Pray for eyes to see the signs that God’s kingdom in coming at us – there are signs all around!