1 John 4:16b
God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them.
Jesus told parables, stories and pictures that gave a glimpse of God’s Kingdom, stories of subversion to power, stories of challenge to understanding and stories of God’s love for his children. The verse I just read out, speaks of the nature of God, and so therefore the nature of God’s Kingdom.
There are lots of people out there who want to tell you how to behave so you can get into the Kingdom. For those of you wondering what on earth God’s Kingdom is, it’s her hope, her plan, her vision for her world, for our world with God. It’s a picture of how the world could be, if we all actually followed God’s ideals.
It’s not a place to get ‘into’ as many would want us to believe but a place we can inhabit by bringing it to being through our own lives. To know who inhabits this Kingdom we need to understand what it could be like and the nature of this Kingdom will be determined by the characters and personalities that build it…through love.
So like I said Jesus did this through parables and now I’m going to tell you a parable, a story, it’s only short, so are you sitting comfortable?
Now the Kingdom of Heaven is like this:
There were two boys that lived by the sea, they didn’t know each other but these two boys who grew up knowing they were different. They tried to be like everyone else but there was something about them that meant they were special.
Because of this they knew what it was to be left out. They knew how it felt to be looked down upon and they carried that pain with them. At times they wanted to hide and at times they wanted to fight but deep down all the time they wanted to love.
Over time they grew in height (one more than most) and they grew in wisdom, and grew in love and one day found each other.
They looked into each other and saw themselves mirrored back, they saw the compassion, wisdom, grace, strength, light, faithfulness hope and beauty reflected in each other’s hearts, but clearest of all they saw Love. They decided to start walking along this life together.
And together now, they find another way to move forward. Together now they move in the world that didn’t understand them, together now they show what Love is, because they abide in Love.
With that love and by living as they do they inspire others who have been suppressed, silenced and abused for being different. They show the beauty of what it is to be unlike the rest, to be who they were made to be. They show every young person who felt left out, looked down upon and ignored that it doesn’t matter, because in each of them lived grace, and joy and faithfulness and hope and fun and laughter and most of all love. They showed them how to abide in love and let love abide in them just by being who they were without shame.
Finally they decided to be joined like so many others had before them, in the presence of the friends and family who also saw their Love and saw that it was good and they said to the world that they would abide in love and let love abide in them for the rest of their lives.
This is what the Kingdom of heaven is like.
For the full audio version click here: https://soundcloud.com/bloomsbury-1/2016-12-03-luke-steve-wedding-sermon