“Do not be afraid. It is the Father’s good pleasure to give you the Kingdom.” Luke 12: 32
Don’t be afraid. I’m very aware that when we see “don’t be afraid” in the Bible, we probably better be afraid. In fact I often think, the realistic thing to do is to get very afraid. God has something in store for us and challenges are ahead.
Jesus continues in this reading to tell his followers it is “God’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” We are not to be afraid as God gives us God’s holy reign, right here and now. It isn’t only paradise – life after death. The paradise is now. It’s here. In this place. In this time. This is where it can get scary.
See, God’s kingdom, however, is not necessarily what we think. This side of heaven, God’s holy reign is where compassion is most desired, where forgiveness is most lived, where food is most shared, where love is most offered, where pain is most present and where healing is most needed. God’s kingdom is not of possessing land, goods, prosperity, prestige or power. God’s kingdom is where love is most needed and where love is most given. Now!
Within this kingdom, we soon discover that Jesus is here too. Jesus is serving us and reminding us that we are embraced by the profound love of God. And, this reign of God includes us too. We don’t enter this kingdom alone. We are given the Holy Spirit. We are wrapped in God’s love. And, we are part of community. We need each other to remind ourselves of the presence of God along the way. We need each other to remind each other to not be afraid. We need each other to engage in God’s kingdom whole-heartedly. This is God’s good pleasure. We are not to be afraid.
So, we at St. Andrew’s find this kingdom here, on the corner of Chalmers and Wright.
The students, faculty and staff will be back in full swing in two weeks. And I wonder what we will be find as God gives us God’s Kingdom, now! I wonder. Who are the hungry, here? Where is love needed, here? How do we live with openness and compassion in this place? Who are the poor? How do we share healing, forgiveness, peace, hope in this part of God’s reign? It is God’s good pleasure to give us the kingdom.
As this next academic year begins and we experience God’s reign, I invite you to pray a prayer from the Matins Service in the hymnal.
you have called your servants to ventures of which we cannot see the ending,
by paths as yet untrodden,
through perils unknown.
Give us faith to go out with good courage,
not knowing where we go,
but only that your hand is leading us;
and your love supporting us;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Amen.