The Kingdom of God is Near
The time is fulfilled, and the Kingdom of God has come near; repent and believe in the good news. (Mark 1:15)
I’ve been listening to The Great Divorce by C. S. Lewis on my morning treadmill walks this week. It’s a strange tale that begins with folks muddling about in a dark and dreary street as they wait to get on a bus. The bus takes them to a new place and puts them out to look around. In this place, everything is more solid, weighty and real—so much so that it hurts bare feet to walk on the grass, the water can be walked upon, and the smallest apple off a tree weighs too much to carry. By comparison, the people who have just arrived are almost transparent. Guides presently arrive to escort these insubstantial visitors on the hard journey to the mountain. The guides promise they will help, that the journey will become easier, and in the end, the hard journey will not matter a bit compared with what is waiting for them on the mountain.
Here’s the thing: Not many of the visitors want to stay in this place that one begins to expect is heaven. Most go back to the bus to return to that gray place. They all have what they believe are good excuses. One doesn’t like his guide because he knew the man in the previous life and refuses to be led about by the likes of THAT person. One says it’s all a scam to dupe him. One woman is terrified that people can see through her. Even a bishop chooses not to stay; he wants to return to the place where his
avant-garde theological opinions can be appreciated.
The kingdom of God has come near in Jesus. We may think of many good excuses why we will not repent and believe the good news. We may choose to hang onto anger, bitterness, the desire to hide, and our own logical and theological opinions. We may be afraid of the journey. We may prefer our ways to God’s ways. Jesus asks us to choose to journey toward God with him. He doesn’t leave us to make the journey alone. The Holy Spirit is here and there are trusted guides along the way if we but open ourselves to their help. The kingdom of God is near; what is our choice?
Lord, I need your help daily so that I may repent and believe the good news. Send the Holy Spirit and faithful guides along the way so that I may attain that high mountain in glory with you. Amen.