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  • Writer's pictureAndrew Comiskey

The Kingdom Among Us

I have never been quite comfortable with Luke 17:21 : ‘The Kingdom of God is within you.’ Here Jesus responds to Pharisaic questions about the nature of His Kingdom. His answer seems to feed that highly individualized, American approach to life: trust no-one, rely only upon the God-within. When the Kingdom around us falters, we pack our Bibles, stifle our wounds, and carry God-with-us into the formation of yet another ‘church’.

Does Luke 17:25 reduce His Kingdom, that swirl of holy creativity in which the blind receive sight, the deaf hear, the lame walk, and the mute shout for joy, to the kingdom of self? Then I read that the Greek word for ‘within’ can be translated ‘among’. A light dawned: the ‘Kingdom is among us’ points to the whole Body of Christ in which each must bring his/her gift and offer it to others.

In other words, the Kingdom is not mostly an interior gift that we contain and brood over as a mystery; the Kingdom is a powerful current of divine gifts that He intends to give one to another. That means that we first must gather, in expectation. And then it means that each one must do his/her part by giving the gift. It may be an encouragement, a word of knowledge or wisdom; it could be a type of discernment or prophecy, maybe a leading to pray for another’s healing.

The point is: the Kingdom ‘among us’ calls us out of ourselves and into the one Body where He dwells. It is a level playing field where all are receptors and extenders of God’s Kingdom gifts. God gives His gifts freely to all who seek His face and the good of His Church.

He loves to act through us. Imagine how much He loves His broken bride! Does He not want to act to extend His Kingdom rule over and through her? That means we each must do our part, attending to His leadings and activating them by releasing a word, a prayer, some act of Kingdom encouragement to the one next to us.

Last week, amid all the holiday hustle, a group of us paused for a few hours just to listen to His voice and to pray for one another. The Spirit of His Kingdom was sweet and strong among us. Words of confirmation, clarity, and gentle challenge moved among us; it was a feast of God-with-us, the Spirit brooding and depositing His rich life in us. I ate then and am still savoring now the riches I received that day as we discovered afresh His Kingdom among us.

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