“Here it is!”…or…”There it is!”

So it’s been over a month since I returned from a mission trip to Coyolate, Guatemala, a small village about 50 miles south of Antigua, where I was privileged to work with 24 of the most awesome people I know. I think I can now write about it without tearing up- which saves typing time and wear and tear on my laptop! We were in Coyolate because one brave young man went there and asked the leaders of the community and local Presbyterian church what it would look like if the Kingdom of Heaven was established in their little village. The answers were few and powerful- Kids would not die of waterborne disease, women would not be abused or die of emphysema because of having to cook indoors over open fires, no one would be hungry, and people would not be trying, desperately to leave. No polish or varnish, no over-theologizing, no talk of eschatological realities, no uncertainty or ambiguous answers, no delusions of some wild separation of the physical and spiritual worlds, but an open-wide-eyed reality check that the Kingdom was NOT established in Coyolate, but that it very, really, could be.  This same young man and his amazing wife have asked this question in several such villages and work to empower the realization of God’s Kingdom in each one. Literally, thousands of bio-waterfilters that can make 15 gal. of ground water potable every 18 hours! Hundreds of high-effeciency wood burning stoves vented out of the house, dry-compost latrines and medical and dental services have been part of the answer. Provided in partnerships that they have created between locals and groups from the U.S. who come and work side-by-side with local folks who receive the benefits of the these deep convictions that God’s Kingdom is supposed to be an earthly reality!

Nope- just teared up- give me a minute…

OK

You see, this is what Jesus did! As He preached “the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand,” He was using His hands to heal the sick, deliver the oppressed, feed the hungry and love the unloveable. Jesus also had no delusions of some weird separation of the physical and spiritual planes- He created them and saw them as interlaced. “When you did it for one of the least of these you did it for Me.” (Matthew 25:40) And when our hands are dirty with the work of making this world more like God created it to be in the first place, we are doing the work of Jesus.

Jesus told the religious elite of His First Century culture to not try to find the Kingdom of God in a specific place and time that would be clearly (and politically) observable. “Don’t say, ‘Here it is’, or ‘There it is.’ For you see the Kingdom of God is among you.” (Luke 17:21) or “in your midst” like right there in the middle of all of you, it is in the spaces between us, all of us, and it is a full realization of everything God wants for His creation. “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”

I need a tissue…





 
     
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Native Plant Demonstration Garden - March 25, 2015

Mountain Park Church has received a grant to replace a portion of the ivy that grows on our property with indigenous plants that help support our local wildlife.  More information can be found in the flyer below. 

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40 McNary Parkway Lake Oswego, OR 97035
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