From the Pastor

The Gospel for the last Sunday in July recorded a series of parables Jesus told his disciples about the kingdom of God.

Biblical commentators note the kingdom of God had a very connotation at the time of Jesus from the image we have of it today. We think of God’s kingdom as the equivalent of heaven, as some place out of this world, a celestial place devoid of the human problems and contradictions.

In Jesus day, the Jewish-Christian community thought the kingdom of God would be initiated right down here on earth. The good would be rewarded and the evil punished. A new era would sweep away the old injustices and a time of peace and well-being would be forthcoming now and not at some distant place in the future.

Over time the immediacy of the kingdom was lost for the most obvious reason, its seemingly interminable delay. Gradually the church had to adjust to the reality that the kingdom would not be landing on their doorstep any time soon.

The delay of the kingdom brought a monyana attitude to the church. By monyana, I mean the church thought of the immediacy of the coming kingdom as delayed. People lowered their expectations and felt left to their own devices. The concept of Christian discipleship suffered as a result. Discipleship became identified with institutional church membership. Today a church member remains active in a congregation, if they give or commune once in a two-year period. That’s hardly what Jesus suggested in his understanding of discipleship.

The parables Jesus used bring the idea of the kingdom of God down to earth. The kingdom Jesus describes has an immediacy, lacking today. We need to recover that immediacy, as the foundation of our Christian faith.

When I read the parables about discovering a treasure in a field or selling everything to buy a pearl of great value, the immediacy of the kingdom of God comes to mind.

Think about the names of Steve Job, Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, and the other great entrepreneurs of our time. They started their careers with very little financial resources, but an abundance of vision, energy, commitment and determination. They materially changed human life in the right here and now. They had what it takes to be successful.

Imagine what Christianity would be like, if we all brought an entrepreneurial spirit to our Christian faith. People like Martin Luther, St Francis of Assissi. St. Theresa of Calcutta had that spirit and so can we. We have to clear out the monyana attitude and become entrepreneurs for Jesus. We must bring vision, energy, commitment, and determination to our faith. When we are collectively able to have that kind of discipleship the kingdom of God, as described by Jesus, will be coming down to earth.

Pastor Richard Pokora