We've been talking a lot about "Kingdom Realities" lately, something I've written about here a little bit. In our worship time on Monday morning, we looked at a lot of the kingdom parables in Matthew, and then Arthur asked us to take a walk around Pangani, looking for pictures of or metaphors for the Kingdom of God.
As I walked along the bottom of the property, I heard a strange noise and looked up to see that it was a bird (called a Hadeda) that had landed on our neighbor's tin roof. I glanced at the bird and continued walking, then stopped as I realized how weird it was that this exotic-looking bird was now a totally normal sight to me--like seeing a sparrow at home. And that's where I found my kingdom metaphor for the morning.
The Kingdom of God is when the exotic becomes familiar. I've been thinking about how God's Kingdom is about making wrongs right--it's the way things should be, the way God intended for them to be. The reality we live in most of the time is not that way. There's injustice, death, suffering, sickness, poverty, AIDS. But as God's kingdom is realized, we contend against these things. As we participate in God's kingdom becoming a reality, we see justice, mercy, comfort, hope, relief, healing, and abundance. These things are not ordinary. All too often, they're unfamiliar. But when we truly participate in God's kingdom, these things become reality. Just like the Hadeda on our neighbor's roof...it's not exotic anymore. It's familiar, and I see it every day. If I take the time to glance upwards.