THE STORY OF THE WORLD ~ ACT III
“You have been permitted to understand the secrets of the Kingdom of Heaven, but others have not.” (St Matthew 13: 11 NLT)
The ministry in the Fifth Episcopal District this Quadrennial is divided into four Seasons – Lent, Epiphany, Pentecost andKingdomtide, not according to liturgy, but according to emphasis. St Matthew 13: 11, is our Kingdomtide text.
According to Matthew’s Gospel, the Kingdom of God/the Kingdom of Heaven is shorthand for evoking “the story of the world in FOUR ACTS.”
In ACT I, God is Creator and Sovereign over all – One God, the Creator who has NO superiors or equals! “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. All things were made by Him, and without Him was not anything made that was made.” (John 1: 1,3).
God, Creator, Sovereign, no superiors, no equals!
In ACT II, the rulership of the world has been/is being usurped by anti-God forces. Real evil exists in the world, evidenced through a state of rebellion against the True Sovereign. Rebellion against God is “SIN!” Sin dates back to Lucifer’s failed vattempt to take control of the heavenly realm. (Isaiah 14: 12 -14). Sin was first manifest on earth in the Garden of Eden through the Serpent. It was the Tempter/the Deceiver who persuaded Adam and Eve to transgress, to break their covenant relationship with God by indulging in the forbidden. (Genesis 3: 1ff)
And that “rebellious/sinful nature” continues. It is as contemporary and as present-time as “heads of State and their minions” claiming to be “the chosen ones,” but in the face of calamity their actions reveal that they are “authors of confusion!”
With Sin and Rebellion, came DEATH!
“The wages of sin is death!” (Romans 6:23)
ACT III thrusts us fully, completely into the Season of KINGDOMTIDE! It is the Season during which we are called upon to live out our faith. Although “Ordinary Time,” is often used interchangeably for “Kingdomtide,” the ‘time’ that we are experiencing is anything but ‘ordinary.’
Yet this is our Season! This is our Time! It is the time when we – that community of imperfect people, chosen by God to be the revelation to the world of His perfect will – (it is the time when we) must step up! It is through us – our lives and our testimonies – that all of creation is to know that the Kingdom of God is not only an “eternal idea” that keeps us in a perpetual state of expectation while waiting for the Consummation of the Age and our Lord’s return (ACT IV), (the Kingdom of God is not only an external idea) but, the Kingdom of God is also a present reality through the people who do God’s will!
According to Romans 8: 19, “The whole of creation is on tiptoe – watching, waiting – to see the wonderful sight of the sons(and daughters) of God coming into their own!” (JBPhillips). They long to understand the secrets of the Kingdom that have been entrusted to us! So, in the absence of knowing and understanding, they watch us. They listen for a word from us!
Our testimony to all who will hear us is that in the end, WE WIN!
“No weapon formed against us shall prosper!” (Isaiah 54:17)
“(We) that dwell in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.” (Psalm 91: 1)
“I had fainted unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.” (Psalm 27: 13)
Just as Death was powerless to claim victory, just as the grave had to lose its grip, we too, who believe in The Christ of God, who hope in Him, who trust in The Risen, Reigning, Conquering King- (we too) irrespective of the circumstances, we too, shall emerge victorious!
“Death cannot hold his prey, Jesus my Savior!
He tore the bars away, Jesus my Lord!
Up from the grave He arose,
With a mighty triumph over His foes;
He arose a Victor from the dark domain,
And He lives forever with His saints to reign.
He arose! He arose!
Hallelujah! Christ arose!