Dear Sisters and Brothers,
Christ is in our midst!
I was particularly moved by a quote I came across this week in my reading. It speaks of the change of mind Jesus was pointing to when he said, "Repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand." I also think of Paul's admonition to "put on the mind of Christ ' for that is what repentance is: to shed a way of thinking that is different than his. So, this is the quote from an author by the name of Jim Marion.
"The Kingdom of Heaven is not a place you go to, but a place you come from."
If we see the Kingdom as a destination rather than as the reality of our lives, then we can end up living in and for the future and miss the present. Doing so, we can easily turn our faith into a believe system rather than a way of life. I do not think for a moment that this is what our Lord had in mind. To me such a future emphasis centered on me and my salvation is wholly unchristian.
Jesus never said that Heaven is someplace "way up there," far away. He taught that it is within us and among us. Right now and always. This is the perspective we need to adopt and that means rethinking how we live and what we belief. "Christ is in our midst! He is now and forever!" That's it. True repentance will take us there.
And while we might be thinking of Holy Pascha which is right around the comer, it might be good to remember that the Resurrection is not confined to one day only, it is every day. If the Kingdom is here and now, then Pascha is also here and now. This is the truth that can revolutionize everything. In this light, joy and compassion becomes our way of life. Coming "from" the Kingdom. It is the Christian way of life.