• Beth Hildebrand

A Present Reality

The kingdom of God is a present reality that will be fully consummated in the future.”  I read that sentence two evenings ago when I got back from Katy, TX right before I conked out. I’ve been processing it since, especially as I see and read social media posts after the Katy Packathon with Feed the Hunger.  Y’all.  It was a good and beautiful thing to experience people of all ages, cultures, colors and denominations pack over 820,000 meals TOGETHER, in a span of 4 days, for physically and spiritually hungry children and people in Haiti, Iraq, Bangladesh, and even closer to home, immigrants at the  US/Mexico border and the poorest of poor communities in Kentucky.

I’m reading the book “The Good And Beautiful Life: Putting On The Character Of Christ” by Jim Smith, and the words I read shortly after I got home from this event, perfectly describes what I and hopefully a few other thousand people experienced.  Recently I’ve been learning more about the kingdom of heaven.  When Jesus walked on this earth, and according to the Gospel writers, every time he spoke to crowds, Jesus was teaching and proclaiming the kingdom of heaven and how it has come near – so near that the people who heard his teachings and experienced or witnessed his healing power, were VERY near to it.  They were immersed in it whether they knew it or not.  And it wasn’t just Jesus proclaiming about the kingdom of heaven, but when you read through the New Testament in the Bible, the disciples, apostles and Paul did too.

This could be taken as a “deep question”, but what is your definition of “the kingdom of God or heaven?” Is your first thought, the place I’m going when I die? In other words, heaven after I leave this earth? I’ve thought that many times. Have you ever thought and/or believed that the kingdom of God (or kingdom of heaven) is an interactive life with God, now, not just in the future? The present time? Not just after you die.

God became flesh – so no one had to wait any longer, but can experience being with HIM, in HIS kingdom, in HIS presence and with the community of fellow believers – here and now. Smith writes:

The kingdom of God is a present reality that will be fully consummated in the future. It is here and is as real and powerful as it will ever be. Everything Jesus said about the kingdom is true in our lives. Yes, one day it will be the governing power over the entire universe, but for now it is intended to be the governing power over you and me. Jesus never said, ‘My kingdom teachings – especially all of those parables – are not applicable to you. They are about a future time when I come back in victory.’ While he did teach about the kingdom coming in its fullness, he primarily taught about the kingdom in the present tense (emphasis added). He not only taught about it, he ministered by its power. And by its power Jesus’ disciples changed the world, not only in the first century, but in every century since.”

And that friends, is what happened in Katy, Texas last week.  The here and now people – the here and now kingdom of heaven – in the Houston and surrounding area, united together using their time, gifts, resources, energy, enthusiasm, selflessness and love for others.  They were immersed in the kingdom of heaven whether they knew it or not the past few days.  It was a good and beautiful event, blessed by the power of our good and beautiful God.

{You can experience this, too, in the next couple of months!  Feed the Hunger is celebrating its 10th Anniversary of Packathons April 29 – May 2, 2020 by having a big Packathon in Burlington, NC!   More details to come soon and I’ll share a registration link when it’s available. }

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