IS THE KINGDOM OF GOD YET TO COME, OR NOW?

Editor’s Note: bethanyarapahoe.org normally does not publish “Watson’s Word,” Rev. Watson’s column that appears in The Bethany Beacon each month. But the text of this month’s column is something all of us at Bethany need to consider and understand as we travel down the transformation path.

From “Watson’s Word,” The Bethany Beacon, June, 2013:

I read recently a comment on transformation made by Marcus J.
Borg. Marcus Borg has written a number of books that are both challenging
and illuminating about the kind of spiritual transformation needed for these
times. His comment is one that resonates with me and with what we have
been attempting to do in our church. Borg wrote, “If your church is full of
God, it is likely that your pews will be full of people.” I know he did not mean
this as some sort of magical formula for having a great attendance on Sunday.

There are more than a few reasons why church attendance across
this nation is down and it is not from a lack of dedication and love for God by
people who do faithfully attend. There is however a tendency in the church
to focus on the wrong things, or maybe we should say on inadequate things.
We sometimes place the premium on believing now for the sake of salvation
later. We think of the kingdom of God as something yet to come rather than
a present reality to be lived in this world. We think of God as being transcendent
and up there somewhere rather than as immanent and present among
us. We think of life with God as something that will happen in the future and
not something that God wants to happen right now. All of this leaves us I
believe in a state of weakened conviction and insufficient passion.

Being full of God is about having a relationship with God that is transformational
now. It is to live with the reality of God present, right here and
right now. It is not about meeting requirements for a future life with God in
heaven. It is about a life that begins with God now, transforms life in the present
time, and preserves life for whatever future God has prepared for us.
What does such a life look like when it is full of God? It undoubtedly
will be a life that is passionate about the things that God is passionate about.
It will be a life distinguished by the compassion and love of our Lord. It will
be a life of peace and joy, of confidence and grace, of forgiveness and acceptance—
a life full of God.

It is my firm conviction that a life full of God is where our journey of transformation is leading us. It is a journey that I pray you will make with us.Life in relationship to God is not something to be kept to ourselves. It is too wonderful for that. It is life to share with others. It is the kind of life many look for and do not know where to find it. But if you will come and journey with us, I am confident we will find it together for it is already God’s gift to those who seek him.