Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Mind the Gap!

If you’ve ever been to London then you’ve probably ridden the “tube” – the mass transit system. If you’ve ridden the tube then you’ve heard the phrase “mind the gap.” At every stop a recorded message warns everyone to be careful of the gap between the rail car and the train platform. Mind the gap – watch your step – be careful.

I think that the mission of God includes all of humanity “minding the gap”. The gap that we’re to mind is the gap between the current situation in the world and God’s intended design – His kingdom coming – His dream for how things should be in the world. I don’t think God is warning us to be careful. I think He invites us into the gaps to bring his kingdom to the places where it hasn’t come yet. And by the way, I don’t think that “the kingdom” is simply getting souls saved. Jesus came announcing and demonstrating the kingdom of God. He also denounced those things that were preventing the kingdom from coming.

In Luke 4: 18-19 Jesus said “the Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed m to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” And then in verse 21 he said “today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” In Matthew 25 Jesus invites us into the same kind of activity and says that “whenever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine you did for me.”

Jesus never defined for us, clearly what the kingdom is. He always said “the kingdom is like…” He told us that the kingdom was near. “Heal the sick who are there and tell them, the kingdom of God is near.” (Luke 10:9) He later said that “the kingdom is within you.” (Luke17: 21) In the Gospel of John he said that his kingdom was from another place. It isn’t like the kingdoms of this world. In the model prayer he said to pray that God’s kingdom would come and that His will would be done on earth as it is in heaven. The kingdom is near and every person as the capacity for kingdom living within them. Pray for the kingdom to come in the here and now and then join with God in making his dream for the world come true.
In Romans 14: 17 Paul says that the kingdom of God is justice, wholeness, & celebration (my favorite paraphrase). The kingdom is a world where every person gets treated fairly and rightly. It’s a world where all of creation is restored to wholeness. And it’s a world where we celebrate and rejoice in the Holy Spirit.

I believe that you and I are called and sent to represent God’s dream for the world. It is our task to create foretastes of God’s kingdom here on earth. We are to “mind the gaps.” As we take on the gaps – God joins us in the work of His mission.

As followers of the way of Jesus we represent the reign of God in the world. We represent the reign of God by “being” different - we love one another.

As followers of the way of Jesus we serve the reign of God. We mind the gap by “doing” acts of mercy, restoring justice, and working for peace.

As followers of the way of Jesus we announce the reign of God. We “speak” good news of inclusion, grace & forgiveness.

Where are the “gaps” in the kingdom around you? What are you doing to “mind” the gaps?

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