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Jesus often describes the Kingdom of God with parables, stories that pierce the heart and reveal the truth of God to those earnestly seeking Truth. Throughout the parables I am amazed at one simple fact; God desires that I enter the Kingdom and take a seat at the table.

Angelsatmamre-trinity-rublev-1410

Andrei Rublev’s Icon of the Holy Trinity at Mamre would serve us well in understanding the Kingdom of God and how it is realized in the community of faith today. This Icon shows us what Abraham learned when he was visited by the Lord in Genesis 18, that the Lord exists in perfect community and unity and most importantly that there is always a seat at the table. God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit are equally sitting at the table in Holy community facing you and I asking that we would join them in their communal feast! How the Church would be transformed if we understood that our ministry is to be a reflection of the Trinitarian fellowship and communion happening at this table! The very nature of this communion speaks to how we as servants of Christ should be engaging ministry and working in the Kingdom today.

First, we must understand that we are doing the Father’s work, not our own work.  Our concentration should be on pleasing our Father and not ourselves. When we are committed to our Father’s work and calling in our live’s, we stop building our kingdom and we begin to build not with items of this world but of the kingdom which will never perish or fade. The Father’s work is not about self, it requires us to “seek justice, encourage the oppressed, defend the fatherless and plead the case of the widow.”

Second, the Kingdom is built upon the Cornerstone, Jesus Christ. The ministry which God has placed in our care is focused on Christ and his sacrificial work upon the cross. This work is about self sacrifice, not self exaltation! This admittedly, may be the hardest component of the Kingdom, when we live life through the sacrifice of the cross we turn people away from ourselves and “direct them to the gospel of grace–to Jesus Christ, that they might look to him to lead them, open their hearts in faith and prayer, and draw them by the Spirit into his eternal life of communion with the Father.”

Third and finally, we reflect upon the truth of praying (and living) to God the Father by the Son through the power of the Holy Spirit. By reflection of the Trinity we understand that God has created us to be transformed by community. The antithesis of building the kingdom of self is to focus on the community that is brought together by the transforming power of the Holy Spirit. Practically, this happens when we move away from thinking that “communion” is a once-a-month act and allow the Spirit to transform us into a community. Community means that we put the needs of others, before self and that we follow the model that our Lord Jesus Christ entrusted to us as we, together, take our seat at the table.

 

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