One of the greatest changes I have seen in the faith communities in Scandinavia over the past 40 years, is the shift from a congregational focus to a Kingdom focus. In our own movement this is also seen in the fact that officers are not any longer appointed to a corps, but to a town or city. I believe that this is in line with God's desire for the world. It is seen in the Lord's prayer, which makes it clear that holiness and kingdom are closely linked:
Our Father in heaven,God trusted his people to establish his kingdom through:
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come...
- law – but it did not work
- judges – but it did not work
- kings – but it did not work
- prophets – but it did not work
The word became flesh (1) and the whole world was influenced, and Jesus proclaimed that:
‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’Will God’s method work in our present time?
Only if every believer let the same miracle happen again and again and again. It means that Jesus must come to the world (= Bethlehem) in flesh and blood and with a “face” of today. This happens when he is given flesh and blood to work by. It happens when I with my presence in the world 'secularizes' (2) holiness. By doing so the “holy” receives a face – my face, your face – scary, but I believe it is God’s only method to reach out to every city and community in the world.
Sometimes I listen to preaching. The content can be OK, the doctrine safe and sound, but I sometimes want to shout out to the preacher: What does this mean to you? What has it done with you? What practical consequences has it had in your life?
If the holy is just rhetoric, the miracle of incarnation does not take place and the message will not be relevant. It is just theory, and theory is not life – it is religion and the world has more than enough religion as it is!
'Manna' for today:
Holiness is the Kingdom brought near through incarnation------------------------------------------------
(1) The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14
(2) I will write more about what I mean with this tomorrow
* The illustration is made for 'William Booth's vision for the lost'