My dear Christian friend:
Time does fly, for the year is half gone! Yet I’m blessed, because of you and this ministry. It is a life of purpose; serving His Kingdom and prayfully playing a part in a resurgence of faith in our two nations. Especially so, when this month we commemorate the historical significance of our nations, with Canada Day and Independence Day.
Since I can remember I’ve enjoyed these celebrations, the fireworks, parades, especially the bands, and the “old” soldiers and sailors struggling into their now tight uniforms. I also remember when quite young the celebration for the last Civil War veteran in Portland a Union drummer boy, who in 1865 was not much older than I was at that time. Now we are witnessing the passing of the last of those who defeated the Nazis and Imperial Japan. It is only proper we do so, but then it does reveal how transient this all is. We still live amid constant conflict and the never-ending struggle to maintain a semblance of peace and freedom. It is a fallen and desolate world. And it’s why our Lord would distinguish between what is God’s and Caesar’s, and exactly why His “Kingship is not of this world…’ (Jn. 18:36). What He desires for us is far better.
In this world our striving for peace, justice, and goodness seems forever beyond our reach, the aspirations for that “city upon a hill”* appears but a dream. But what our Lord wants us to realize is something else, what Matthew will call for his largely early Jewish readers as the Kingdom of Heaven. It is what Jesus will invariable describe with parables, “the Kingdom is like,” or “the kingdom may be compared to.” We find this Kingdom will grow like a mustard seed or leaven in a loaf of bread. That its value is incalculable, like a buried treasure or priceless pearl you will do anything to possess. Yet it is divisive, like wheat and weeds growing together until harvest, or unwise maidens who are unprepared and miss the festivities. Yet it is also something where ordinary expectations fails, like all workers earn the same regardless of whether they worked all day, or an hour.
There is of course more, and our Lord in so describing this Kingdom is telling us of something far different than any human institutions, nation, or even culture. What God desires will be much closer in some places than in others. Those that mutilate preadolescent girls, or burn alive those who don’t believe as they do, are clearly far from what God desires. Yet, in all honesty, even our efforts in North America are often far from He would wish. Too much of our culture has lost its way, be it art, music, education, entertainment, or certainly our politics. There is a darkness spreading over that “city upon a hill,” that was the aspirations of our early Separatists and Puritans settlers.
To aspire for something that approaches the ideals of God’s Kingdom is for we fallen and imperfect creatures, impossible. Every promised effort at utopia be it the Shakers, Hutterites, or the like are not God’s Kingdom. And some have been disastrous if not appalling like Jonestown, Heaven’s Gate, or Marxism. Those who believe they can bring about a perfect world by their own strength have always failed usually inflicting great pain. Still we have been taught to pray, “…thy kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven…” So do we compromise and accept some pale imitation, or finally realize that God’s Kingdom is different. What God desires for us is His Kingdom. And it “has come upon (us)” (Mt. 12:28). “It is in the midst of (us)” (Lk.17:21). The Kingdom is His presence, His Spirit in our lives. Still, we do need to participate in our various human systems, for example what politicians do or don’t do can greatly effect us. So we must be engaged, but be cautious concerning what they say. Politicians like any hucksters, and even from some pulpits will say anything. Their promises we may wish to believe, but they will never be the ultimate answer. They may at best help a little, but usually what is offered is of very little if any help. The answers and real truth are found only in God’s Kingdom. And yes, all of God’s purposes, His desires for us will be accomplished ultimately at the last trump when, as in creation, by His Word all will be made new (2 Pe. 3:12-13;Rev.21:1).
For it is really all about God’s Kingdom,
Thomas R. Wyatt
From a sermon by John Winthrop on Mt. 5:14, in the year1630