Once Jesus was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God was coming, and he answered, "The kingdom of God is not coming with things that can be observed; nor will they say, 'Look, here it is!' or 'There it is!' For, in fact, the kingdom of God is among you."
~ Luke 17:20 - 21
One of the things that an extended illness and recovery teaches you is that there is uniquely something holy about each of us, and that the kingdom of God is real.
Someone once asked me if during my illness if I thought about dying, and what that would be like?
Of course I did. Daily, but along the way, I began to realize that God's kingdom was already present within.
So often we bump into the kingdom of God and don't realize it. What I mean is this. Jesus came so that we all may experience life fully. Even when that life is consumed by death, there is still a sacredness that exists.
Remember, we are the only part of God's creation that received the breath of God, which not only makes us unique, but involves a very sacred gift. We are truly Divine and dust.
Sometimes I realize that I can be somewhat "heady" in my thoughts when it comes to the indwelling presence of God in my life. God's presence within is not meant to be something that we must try to discern or validate. God is just there! Even as we breath in and out. When Jesus shares that the kingdom of God is not necessarily a place, or borders with signs saying, "This is the kingdom of God!" No, he reminds us that the kingdom of God is already among US!
While so many people wonder when Jesus will return so that the world may once again know real peace and harmony, God has equipped us to begin the process. I love it when I realize that we each possess a sacred center. A place where God remains always.
It's that place where a woman discovers the strength to know she cannot live one more day in an abusive relationship and it is time to stand up and go.
It's that place where a student who has been bullied on the playground looks into the eyes an accuser and says, "No more!"
It's not always about strength, sometimes it is the artist that is inspired to create some place like a cathedral on paper, then see it become a reality on a hill, and people are brought closer to God within the walls surrounded by that inspiration.
Sometimes it is words, like that of the Psalmist, that takes us on their journey, and we are inspired to go further.
Sometimes it is the prayer at the end of the day of simply stopping, breathing, and saying, "Thank you for this day."
For most of us, it is that still, small voice, that reminds us that we will be okay, even when the world seems to be out of control.
God's presence in our lives is not meant to be complicated. God's presence simply IS! As the writer, Luke, proclaims, "the kingdom of God is already among YOU!"
I pray today you rediscover that sacred center while remaining in God's grip!
G. Todd Williams (c) 2017
Dear Lord, let today be filled with moments where I realize that Your kingdom is all around and that I have nothing to fear. As the Psalmist has written, Your rod and staff comfort me, for I am Yours. Today I pray that goodness and mercy follows me, and that I never forget that You already dwell within and I shall live with You in the kingdom of God, forever and ever. Amen.
Rev. G. Todd Williams lives in the Houston metro area and is a Hospice Chaplain at Essential Hospice, Webster, Texas, and is an ordained Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) pastor.