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We cannot separate living in this world from living in the kingdom of God.  As long as we live here we are called to be workers in the kingdom, even if it means sometimes deconstructing our own life to rebuild it in the image of Christ's.

 


Weekly Reflection: Pastor Dana Reardon
April 9 ,2007

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Which Kingdom: God's, or Yours and Mine?

We live in two different worlds.  We live in this kingdom of this world, where what I own is mine and what you own is yours, where I can see how hard I have worked to own what I own and some people have more who have not worked so hard.  I can also see people who have less and wonder how hard they have worked.  I can try to justify what I own and the privileges I have in this society.

But we also live in the kingdom of God, where we truly know that everything we have is a gift from God, where what we have is only ours-in-trust, to use to further the kingdom, where God's love is for all and there is room at the table for all of God's children.

I was reminded again this week that we are called to as stewards to bring the kingdom of God into the kingdom of this world.  I was talking to a new friend I met online.  He is a pastor in South Africa.  He told me of his great respect for Nelson Mandela and others who rose up from among the oppressed to change things.  But his as a white South African, he found role models in the white pastors who were willing to work to tear down a society in which they were the ruling class in order to build a more just society.  He said that is why he became a pastor.

What would we be willing to give up to make this a more just society?  I hear so much about how the flow of immigrants, legal or illegal, is changing the face of America.  I hear how it will never be the same.  I wonder if this is really a bad thing.  When my grandparents came here, the numbers of Irish and Scandinavians who came certainly changed the face of this country (I am half Irish and Danish).  And the Irish, especially, were feared as we today fear the large number of Hispanics who come.  My guess is that many of your forebears were no less an intrusion onto someone else's idea of America.  Even if you are English or Dutch and your ancestors came over on the Mayflower they disturbed some natives idea of America.

Why are we so unwilling to give up our picture of this country to make room at the table for others?  Why are we so unwilling to see the other as one of God's children to be loved and cared for?

We cannot separate living in this world from living in the kingdom of God.  As long as we live here we are called to be workers in the kingdom, even if it means sometimes deconstructing our own life to rebuild it in the image of Christ's.

My friend talked about walking down the halls of the Halls of Justice in Cape Town which once housed a prison and knowing he had been a small part of something momentous. 

It seems to me that we do have some choices in life.  We can cling to what we feel is ours or we can hold it loosely knowing that it is all God's.  We can refuse to change or to see things differently.  We can open our eyes to a vision of the world that has room for all of God's people and then go about the messy business of helping it happen.

Lord, Show me what I really need to hold onto in this world to survive, your love and your Word and then strengthen me through them to work for your kingdom.  Amen





Copyright 2007, The Rev. Dana Reardon. All rights reserved. Used by permission. Email her at mspastor@aol.com.

The Rev. Dana Reardon is pastor at St. Paul Evangelical Lutheran Church, Warwick, RI.  A lifelong Lutheran, she came to ordained ministry after 21 years in nursing, mostly in pediatric intensive care.  She graduated from Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia in 1998 and served 4 years in Upstate New York before becoming a New Englander.  She is still trying to understand the accent.  While in the Upstate New York Synod she chaired the Stewardship Team.  That began her fascination with what makes stewards -- and more, what makes for generosity. She has three amazing daughters: Pastor Reardon says much of what she knows of life she learned from them.