Greetings all, here is your e-votional…

Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.’”-Mark 1: 12-13

I love the Gospel of Mark, he cuts to the chase.  There are no birth narratives here, no genealogies; no Christmas story.  There is only Jesus and John.  The words above are significant because Mark tells us they are the first words of Jesus’ public ministry.  Pause for a moment and read them once more, I’ll wait….There is a lot happening there.

I want to focus on one part of this passage in particular.  Jesus says, “the kingdom of God has come near.”  This is interesting.  The Kingdom of God is not an actual, physical kingdom.  It has no territory except the human heart.  When he said this the revolutionaries greeted him with enthusiasm.  They believed God’s Kingdom was coming to overthrow the Kingdom of Rome.  No.  That is not what Jesus had in mind.  God’s Kingdom would be different.  God’s Kingdom would lay its claim to the human heart, soul and mind.  It would exist within the boundaries of earthly kingdoms.  It is no place and yet it is every place.  Understanding what he meant by God’s Kingdom is the key to understanding the bits that follow, but we will not dwell on those today.

Instead, I want you to remember where you live.  Jesus inaugurated the advent of God’s Kingdom into this world.  It drew near and it has not withdrawn.  At the onset of the 20thcentury there was a belief that we were beginning the Christian Century, that the 20th century would see unparalleled moral progress to match the scientific breakthroughs which were now coming fast and furious.  That idea died in the trenches of the Somme and the ovens of Auschwitz.  The failure, of course, was not God’s.  It was our own.  We looked at the world and saw progress and so we spent little time building God’s Kingdom.  We thought God’s Kingdom was on the march.  It was not because we were not.

Today God’s Kingdom remains imminent.  It is right there, in front of you; visible if you have eyes to see, audible if you have ears to hear.  It whirls and blows and moves in our midst.  It is present in the work of the Church, the acts of the disciple, the fidelity of people.  It still knows no boundaries, and it exists in every single nation on the planet.  We at First Presbyterian would be wise to remember that the work of building God’s Kingdom falls to us in this time and this place.  We cannot afford to sit back and wait for God to do something.  God did something!  God sent Jesus into the world.  We now respond.  It is our turn.  We build with love, with selflessness, with worship, with service, and with study.  We build with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness and patience.  We build by doing the work that Jesus taught us.  My friends, the Kingdom of God is near.  Repent!  Believe the Good News!

Prayer:  Holy God, we thank you for the gift of your son Jesus.  We pray that he would shape our hearts and minds. Help us to serve him this day.  We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.