by Kim Priddy, Associate Pastor – Missions
“Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”
I am always on the lookout for God’s kingdom in our midst. I am a visual learner and feel God’s presence when I am able to see a glimpse of what I think the kingdom looks like. We have read in Mark 1:15 Jesus’ proclamation that “The kingdom of God has come near.” The nearness of the kingdom reassures my hope and encourages my faith in a world that is broken.
I felt the nearness of the kingdom the other Sunday in worship. We all come to worship with our own hopes and expectations to meet God, offer praise and hear the Word proclaimed. For me in worship, I come seeking the nearness of the kingdom- not the one at the end of a yellow brick road- but the kingdom that Jesus describes through riddles in his parables: as a mustard seed, belonging to children, a pearl, and treasure.
This particular Sunday, Trinity Sunday, sitting on my pew, the pew in front of me, the pew behind me and other pews in our church were people who looked different from me on the outside. On the outside we were different colors, races, and ages, and possess different skills and abilities but on the inside we were all gathered as a faith community to worship. This day we joined in making the kingdom here on earth, in this time and space. Some of us woke that morning from our beds and drove cars and some woke from their beds on floors or tents and walked to church but, as a gathered community, there was a glimpse of the nearness of the kingdom. Many churches have posted on their front signs, “All are Welcome.” but the truth is that, if we were to peek in the front door we would find that our churches are the most segregated on Sunday mornings. At First Baptist, it is our hope and dream to have all people in the pews because we all have something in common; the desire to know God, to worship together, and to grow in our faith.
So what are we up to at First Baptist? We are taking the time to be invitational, taking the time to get to know our community, taking the time to be present, and most importantly- we are loving our neighbors. I met some of our new friends the following Monday for lunch at the park and they were so thankful that our differences did not keep us from worshipping together. It is really very simple. Our differences are only in appearance and we all come to church broken and wanting “refuge.” We all come messy!
Pastor Alan Sherouse preached that we have something to teach one another, that our faith is mutual and that we have a shared interdependence. This Sunday was not only Trinity Sunday but our first annual Heritage Sunday. I believe that if we are diligent in taking God’s life into our own faith community then our heritage at First Baptist will reflect the relationship of the Trinity. As we think about heritage, we think about the legacy we want to leave for the generations to come and how kingdom like worship will reflect the love of God.
For that Sunday, for that moment, it was being played out. We were joined together in mutuality and interdependence, enjoying a glimpse of the kingdom of God on earth, reminded of its nearness. To God be the Glory!