Kingdom Impact

I recently visited some of my family. Unfortunately, they are not Christian and I was acutely aware that the Kingdom needed to impact them, but I was not sure how. An intellectual discussion on the Kingdom would have done little to impress. Somehow, they needed to experience it, and there was the rub.

I can honestly say that I am not the man I would have been if I had not encountered Jesus all those years ago, yet, for all that, how much difference do people see? I hope they see someone who is, at least in some ways loving and not judging. Yet there are plenty of people like that who are not Christian. Would anyone really see anything in me that they would want to follow? To be honest, I doubt it. Yet, if they encountered Jesus in the same way I can’t help feeling they would respond differently. Those who encounter Jesus encounter the Kingdom in a very real way. Even before his miracles are reported, people wanted to follow him. So I am left frustrated. Frustrated by my own inadequacy, by my own inability to demonstrate the life of the Kingdom.

It is in the midst of this frustration that I have needed to remind myself that it is not all down to me. Even Jesus said he only did what the Father was doing. It is the Spirit at work in our lives that makes the difference. And I cannot control the Spirit, who blows where he wills. What is left then, is what Jesus commanded, that we pray “your Kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven”. It may not seem much, but it is a start, and it is what has been commanded. It is like a farmer planting seed. Once planted, there is nothing left to do, but sit back and wait for the rain.

Matthias

The wall ahead is barely visible. The only light that has dared enter the prison is a thin ray in which the dust dances incongruously in the gloom. It announces the early morning in its stillness, broken only by the half-innocent scurrying I have been listening to most of the night, wondering what the rats had found. Whatever it was, it did not smell good. Clearly, the Romans had other priorities. Still, it took my mind off the sores that were reminding me that I am still alive – even if the shackles causing them suggested this might soon be rectified. It was strange. I felt oddly at peace, half wondering if some angels would come, as they once had for Peter and Paul. Yet, their work was not yet done, while mine appears to rapidly be coming to an end.

It has been an eventful journey, with few regrets. My childhood was a good one. My family loved me and were very encouraging when I wanted to follow John. They were less enthusiastic when I subsequently started following the Master, but they never made a big issue of it. They never understood him, but then I suppose none of us did really. Oddly enough, it was probably Judas who came closest to understanding, but even he got it wrong in the end. That was a sad chapter. I still miss Judas and it was perhaps why the lot fell on me to replace him. It caused a lot of amusement at the time! Yet it was a privilege, and it is what has led me here. Yet, even this feels a privilege. Odd. I don’t feel scared. Death seems to have so little meaning. A move from the shadows and into the light. The thought of the pain still bothers me though. I have to hold on to the fact that pain, at least, will pass.

Ah! I hear the guard coming. Soon it will be over.


The guards are rough. Ripped from my shackles and dragged to my feet. There is no ceremony here. Shouting commands, but not giving me time to respond before being forced to their will…


I remember the pain, or at least, I think I do. So much seems to have fallen away as I approached the light, such a light – beyond white: intense, burning, clean. It went right through me, exposing so much darkness. I feel so unclean, so out of place. Yet, the light burns with such love that I am drawn ever deeper. But, the closer to the light the more intense the sense of wrong. Split between the desire to flee because of my uncleanness and run further towards the burning love. I am being torn apart. It is unbearable. I can stand it no more. I must flee into the darkness…

No. I sense the presence of Christ. I know my darkness has been dealt with. It is gone forever. There is nothing now stopping me from being consumed by the fire of love…


I do not know how much time has past: it could have been a few minutes or thousands of years for all I know. I am aware of waking again. Everything is somehow different, more intense. The air is fresher, the colours richer, the sounds have filling the air with song. Indeed, this is a new heaven and a new earth.