Monday, September 19, 2011

Forecast or Report

In a neighboring town, I recently saw this message posted on a church sign:

Weather forecast:
God reigns
and the Son shines.

Immediately upon seeing it, I felt there was something wrong the message.  Do you see anything amiss?  At first, I couldn't figure out what bothered me about the message.  After all, the intent of the message seemed clear enough, but something about it didn't feel right.

Later that same day, I figured it out.  The message heading is wrong.  The message is not a weather "forecast."  It's a weather report.  God does reign and the Son does shine.  If Jesus is to be believed, the kingdom of God, the reign of God, is not something for which we have to wait.  Check out the following references from the Gospels: Matthew 12:28, Luke 6:20, 9:27, 17:21.  They each speak of the kingdom as something present.  Yes, there are other verses that speak of the kingdom as being in the future or as being near.  Yet, whatever else we may make of Jesus' presence in this world, surely we see in it the arrival of the kingdom. 

The fullness of the kingdom, like the completion of our salvation, is in the future; but our hope in Jesus is not a future hope only. It is a sure and present hope.  I am saved.  Am I fully redeemed?  No, God is continually about the work of redeeming me, for which I give deep thanksgiving; but I am redeemed even as I am being redeemed more fully day by day.  So it is with the kingdom.  It has arrived even as it is yet to come in fulness.

As we live our lives in a world marked by sin (our own and that of others), our hope rests in a kingdom already ushered into existence.  Depending on one's perspective, Jesus is the sign of the kingdom's presence or he is the bold reminder that from the beginning the kingdom has existed.

God reigns and the Son is the Shining Light who daily reminds us of the truth.