Town slogans can say a lot about a community — Keep Austin Weird, Keep Fort Worth Funky. Marfa’s “unofficial” alliterative one says Keep Marfa Mysterious.
You pass through Gas, Kansas, and can’t help but notice their big red water tower which boasts the slogan, “Don’t Pass Gas; Stop and Enjoy It.” There’s Keep Seattle Soggy (that’s actually not official — a friend of mine who lives there shared that’s his slogan).
I made the mistake once of asking kids at a school in Frankenstein, MO, if the town got scary — clearly one of the most unoriginal slogan suggestions anyone has ever made in that town. But Peculiar, MO, does have one of the most original official slogans anywhere — “Peculiar, MO — where the odds are with you.”
This Sunday I want to think with you about the qualities and characteristics of God’s Kingdom. Without suggesting anything too trivial, and it is somewhat tempting, but what slogan might one offer for God’s Kingdom?
Jesus always used parables to describe what God’s kingdom is like — a mansion with many rooms; a pearl of great price; an ordinary field with an unexpected, hidden treasure; a mustard seed that takes over a garden; a wedding feast where all the usual suspects miss the party and all the unusual ones end up invited. Metaphors and similes abound as Jesus described the Kingdom of God to his listeners.
My junior high school Sunday School teacher told us the Kingdom of Heaven would be filled with joy, streets of gold, and spacious mansions with no suffering and everyone singing in a heavenly choir. Honestly, it didn’t sound very appealing — it was a very small Baptist Church with an awkwardly off pitch choir, so the bar was set pretty low for heavenly choirs in my mind.
This Sunday, we’ll take a look at the prophet Isaiah who described God’s realm as a feast set on a mountain where everyone is invited and all shame and injustice will be washed away. And at Paul’s letter to the early church at Philippi where he pleads with the diverse and divided Christians to model the life of God’s Kingdom by living with one mind of humility and love, placing others above oneself and keeping others’ interest before one’s own, “so that you will shine like stars in the sky.“
What does God’s Kingdom look like to you? Where is it and who’s there? And what’s happening? Since November is the month of the year with the most National Awareness themes, a month to celebrate, let’s take a look at what it might mean to live as if God’s Kingdom was already in our midst, as if the entrance has always been here but sometimes feels as small and difficult to find as the eye of a needle but other times is as generous and inviting as a grandmother with arms open wide and the smell of something good cooking in the kitchen.
Plan to stick around after church a bit for some great music and food as we celebrate the conclusion of First Church’s “Unbounded Generosity” stewardship campaign!
And if you haven’t yet completed your pledge of commitment for 2018, you may also do so online here.
See you Sunday!