After what feels like an endless silence, we return! In truth, we have been hosting and hanging for over two months, and haven’t had the luxury of blog. It seems everyone in our tribe is being stretched in this season in whatever areas need it the most–for us, it has felt mostly with the questions: how many people can you actually hold in your heart, and what price are you willing to pay to experience unity.
Since, Jesus never stops before finished, I am not too worried about His ability to bring unity between one group of people on the earth, however, when i see how difficult it is to let the necessary love and repatterning in to achieve the flow of His Blood between the parts, I am amazed that the whole church will also be made one. Still, the shema read daily, says it–behold God is ONE; He is unified, and is therefore able to unify us–even in ourselves.
It seems like lots of us are going through an integration period of all the parts of self which need to mature or grow up into fullness–whatever is still lingering in old seasons is being grown up–often rapidly; accelerated growth was one of the words we got last year–chia growth (not chi, but chia, the small little sheep plants offered in mid eighties tv commercials). Needless to say, quick growth isn’t always pleasant.
I’ve been reading a book by Abraham Heschel about the hebrew prophets. Not only is it really well written, it also has lots of jewish insight into the life of the prophets, and their willingness to suffer with God for His plans to incarnate on earth; and this from a man who walked with Martin Luther King Jr. on his historic walk in Selma. A man who said that the jews and (i would add the church), never understood the prophetic significance of the life of martin luther king jn.–not just about his role in fighting racism, but about the gospel of the Kingdom which he heralded–which brings me to my point:
i think a lot of what people are touching now, has to do with a deepening preparation for His Kingdom to press into every area of our lives–cultures, nations economics. We are seeing this at the community level repeated over and over, but also I think it is happening the church worldwide, and then to the world as well.
Back about 12 years ago now, I lived at L’ abri in switzerland, a christian community started by Francis Shaeffer and his wife Edith. One of the big seeds from Francis Shaeffer which was at that place, had to do with Lordship of Jesus over every area of life and reality–so culture, art, history, art therapy, bussiness etc. The seeds he carried went out and bore very much fruit already, but this particular seed of Christ Lordship over every area of reality, also has to do with the gospel of the Kingdom which Jesus said would be preached before the end.
This gospel of the Kingdom begins with seeing Jesus as King over each area of our own lives, then out into every area of our culture, nations, and bussinesses– and it ends with the complete restoration of the earth.
My own area of interest is His Restoration of His symbolic function on the earth as it plays out in the arts–wherein God is able to re-connect His symbols with the things on earth they were meant to be attached to; this is about the healing of the imagination, and has been a life long fascination–under which the arts is a part. When God does fully inhabit the symbolic level of reality, you will not see a woman’s body separated from the rest of her whole identity for instance! The pornographic vision of other, as a dis-integrated collage of parts, will be re-integrated to form a complete image where all parts are centered in Christ Himself and the true identity of that person will be overt!
Similarly, you will see cities expressing from their true identities in image, color and symbol, and thus you will see the whole image of that city (this is what bono was talking about on his last tour when he would pray for the city he was performing in– that it would be the exact projection into the sky of who it was meant to be in Christ!)
We are going to see a global healing of the symbolic! And that will involve many artists coming into His Kingdom through a personal encounter with Jesus–many as they create their art! But this symbolic incarnation is part of a larger restorational preparation for His Kingdom to be on earth as it is in Heaven!! And this will require some suffering as it presses in! Many of us are starting to taste the suffering involved in being Kingdom agents or vessels of His deeper incarnation even on a daily, community level–and this is good news. I think it means the gospel of the Kingdom is starting to be whispered through our lives!
To be a part of His restoration is by nature, to be a part of His Suffering. Martin Luther King Jr. knew this–jailed, stabbed, and eventually shot–he was like a precurser of the true apostles to come. But suffering is part of the Kingdom pressing into areas where the kingdoms of men have been occupying. Borders, the arts, bussiness–all have things over them which HE is pressing into, and this pressing creates a bruising. These are the bruises we receive for being IN and WITH Him. These are the good bruises, which give us a knowing of Him in those places in Himself. Many of us who are part of restorational moves on the earth, will know His suffering–many already have; but in this, we will also get to taste the coming of the Kingdom in a practical tangible concrete way, that many have only dreamed of. That part excites me.
Understanding 20 C church history from a spiritual perspective will help us. When you are seeing current movements, such as emergent, you look and see what seeds got planted to allow this dialogue with philosophy and cultural thinkers to enter. What are they participating in–well, Jesus is Lord over culture is one seed that is growing there. Not that anyone yet knows how to be with Him maturely as He speaks and moves into culture–Bono, seems in the right boat; as was Martin Luther King Jn.
The larger seeds of the gospel of the Kingdom may be the overarching seed of our times or century (is anyone actually preaching the Kingdom right now?). If His Kingdom is coming, then Jesus would have to be established as Ruler in all areas of Life, and there would be none off limits to Him, or blocked to Him–even within ourselves, and our own communities.
Back when i lived in california, one day on haight street, i was wondering out in front of where lots of the hippie movement crystalized (somewhere between golden gate park, and ashbury street, and the Lord spoke to me clearly, and said, a tremendous outpouring of Himself was coming. I felt that we would experience another level of His Kingdom reality here on earth in my lifetime, and that the symbolic expression would include the arts, the physical body, a broader cultural critique through symbolic action or “happenings”, much as happened in haight and ashbury back in the 60’s. That a true movement of God would include all of culture and be expressed through the symbolic–even living as a symbol, much as community life became a symbol of a need for family etc in the 60s. Life itself would become a teaching of how God knits and builds…
…your Kingdom come…on earth as it is in heaven.
Shaeffer and King were planting around the same time–mid to late 1960’s. During this period, you also had the Jesus People movement and its distorted echo the hippie movement. These movements were addressing many neglected areas–the physical body, the arts, creative community life. These movements were immature, first seeds- sprout versions- of His Kingdom coming.
History, the arts, bussiness, therapy, healing, culture, nations are all under the Lordship of The King, and His Kingdom is coming. This means that it will be pressing into these areas more and more through each of us who is willing to suffer the downloading of His Kingdom! To incarnate, for Jesus, meant to suffer–not just on the cross, but just in entering the polluted environment of mankind. He chose that path, that way. The way of bringing life by suffering. His Kingdom come by nail and blood–that was the way of The King, so it would have to be the way of those following Him, and even more so the ones who were actuall “in Him”.
One of the calls of this season is about being more deeply IN Him. As we descend into greater depths of His Life, we will know greater anguishings, and greater joys. Rick Joyner has said that this is a serious season. Yet it is also a joyous season–the joy of the Kingdom birthing into so many areas of reality! His Kingdom is coming more deeply within us first, and as it does, it will begin to permeate more and more of the earth!
So, it is a season of greater incarnation, as many are speaking–but in knowing Jesus as Ruler over more, we are also seeing His the gospel of His Kingdom beginning to be preached through our lives–there is great hope in this; in that Jesus said that this would be a sign of the end of times. Instead of a sudden disappearing act, we see a time of even more bold relief! Instead of us just vanishing in odd abduction; we come to reflect Christ ever more boldly and in crystalized clarity! It is a time of ever increasing stark contrasts! It is not a time of balancing light and dark, but a time when both are clearly seen for what they are! Whatever is not in Christ will be made apparent. And there is great comfort in this–whether He enters to ecclipse new areas of our own life (not I but Christ), or we see Him taking newer areas of culture, arts, therapy, bussiness–we are watching His Kingdom beginning to come in our midst, as it already is in heaven!
A Kingdom theology might be the bass note in this particular moment, or the central truth to enter into in His Spirit. Living from the Kingdom, knowing Jesus as King in that realm and below. Of course, as His Kingdom presses in, the questions of who the church trully is, get more in focus, as well as its relationship to the Jews and their destiny. Interestingly, both of these issues keep coming up in most contemporary christian thought! What is the Body of Christ (the church) and how does that play out on earth in our times; and what is the church’s relationship with the Jews supposed to look like? These are two questions brought forth by the pressing in of His Kingdom!
For as the Kingdom gets downloaded, the refining off of all that is false occurs. The Church will know herself; and we will see The Father’s plans for the Jews and the nations revealed. And we will see what every area of reality was meant to be in HIM! What were the arts meant to do? What was money’s purpose? How were we to tend the environment? What was the church meant to look like? What was the thought life of the 20thC meant to focus on—every knee shall bow at His Answers!