A world fellowship | 25 January 2015


Text: Matthew 6:9-13

When Jesus taught his disciples how to pray, he taught them to say: “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”  Jesus spoke often of the Kingdom of God, or, the Kingdom of Heaven, and remarkably, taught that it was already at hand, near, already present.  Some scholars have emphasized how Jesus presented the Kingdom of God as an alternative to the Kingdom of Rome.  Others have noted its essential grounding in Jewish understanding of redemption and salvation.  The Kingdom of God is a reality in which relationships are mended, or mending, and creation is freed up to become a fuller and fuller manifestation of goodness and beauty and creative outpouring.

In our religious vocabulary we have developed the notion of us going to heaven, but in Jesus’ ministry and in the prayer he taught us, he emphasized the flow going in the exact opposite direction.  Heaven is coming to us, breaks in at unexpected times in unexpected places.  Your kingdom come on earth, as is already is in heaven.

The universal nature of this kingdom, which spans all ethnic and national divides of persons, means that, by way of happy coincidence of the English language, the kingdom of God is just as much the kin-dom of God, the family under Divine care.  And so in a time when kings are less prominent, but when the kin-ship of humanity and other living things is fragile at best, our prayers can also be that the kin-dom of God come on earth as it is in heaven.

We are blessed in this congregation with people who have spent significant amounts of time in other parts of the world – who have seen unique glimpses of the kin-dom of God.  So on this World Fellowship Sunday, I have asked three of them to tell us a story or two from their experiences, and what this might have to do with us at Columbus Mennonite.

Laurie Z – China

Jerome H – Israel/Palestine

Phil H – Colombia

Their responses to the questions below can be heard on the audio player at the top of this post.

Tell us briefly about the part of the world where you have been, what organization or motivation took you there, and what you did while there.

What’s a story or situation in which you encountered or learned something about the Kin-dom of God?

What is a message you bring to us Mennonite Christians in Columbus, Ohio, United States, about our own participation in the Kin-dom of God?