What does God’s kingdom look like? It is a shared experience.
Jesus speaks often about His Father’s kingdom. When He does it is usually in his parables. He describes it as a magnificent buried treasure, a tiny planted seed, and yeast fermenting dough. Jesus encourages that each is worthy of seeking. He says that when we discover this kingdom, it will change your life forever.
Is it like holding a winning lottery ticket giving us millions of dollars and security for decades to come? Jesus says it’s even more than that. It's a treasure that fills us with joy and contentment transforming our lives that we never want to give it up. And it is something that wells up from within and nothing else is capable of ever matching it. Jesus is talking about a moment in our lives that actually puts us in touch with God, his Father.
In trying to understand this, I want to share this experience, which helped me to understand more deeply Jesus’ parables about the kingdom.
Recently, I saw magnificent beauty in a sunrise. Through the dawn blue sky, an orange light with brilliant shades of purple running through it pierced this fresh morning light. Small puffy clouds kept swallowing this blend of colors, smearing them across the vast morning sky. The entire spectacle held my attention. I became lost in the immensity of brilliant colors. I knew in that instant that God was in this beauty. This moment was his gift.
Through the tints and hues of colors, I saw that God loves me no matter what and through this beauty God was embracing this world and me. Despite catastrophic floods, possible terrorists’ threats, the existence of greed and corruption, and the personal losses of those we love, God has a plan, and its still in effect.
Our God is alive, and his plan is for us to keep trying to be all that we are capable of becoming, even when we fail, which we often do, because God continues calling us forth to try again.
Even when feeling overwhelmed, God is near, acting through this sunrise to give us the joy we need. This new day is God caring and seeing us. This sunrise is proof God is with us. Even if clouds come to darken our sky, they will pass because God is near.
These moments of beauty and joy are God’s gifts. They are given to help us forget for a little while that things can go wrong. They are reminders that God sees us, loves us, and cares for us, and that Jesus his son is always accompanying us. This moment is God’s kingdom real and present. It is a pearl of great price that we want to buy at all cost.
This sunrise is a kingdom of God experience. Jesus promises this can be ours for all eternity. All of us experience moments like this in our lives. For example: when a toddler son who never speaks turns and suddenly says his first words clearly and plainly, “Mommy, ice cream.” Or the extreme delight of a mother watching her daughter hold her own newborn daughter for the first time. And the good news that a son declared lost in battle is found alive and safe. Any, and all of these moments, are special for God is there too.
The kingdom of God transforms these ordinary life moments into spectacular moments of grace that can come at any time. Like that scenic sunrise, beautiful as it is, is a small dose of what God has planned for everyone in eternity.