Kingdom Moments

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The Hindu faith in India made an untouchable caste. These “untouchables” were to be avoided.  If the shadow of an “untouchable” even fell on a higher caste person, that person was made unclean by the untouchable’s shadow. Now in Christianity there has been in history a definite effort to make homosexuals into Christian untouchables. Homosexuals were seen as people to be fled from by Christians. That has been wrong. There cannot be an untouchable caste among Christians. There must not and cannot be untouchable type thinking in Christianity. So also with black people in “apartheid.” Remember the words of the Apostle that nothing “shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which  is in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8:39) Whoever God loves, we love. We are together through grace.

Now making in society a shunned caste out of the homosexuals and blacks is not appropriate Christian behavior. But Christians have tried in past times to make homosexuals into a variation of moral  “untouchables” beyond the pale of Christian society, the Christian church and Christian love. It unfortunately has also been this way with black people, making them second class citizens. The church is coming into some spiritual growth on homosexuality as well as the treatment of black people, Christianity is growing spiritually in this. lt is high time and about time.

You may say that what homosexuals do is wrong. Yes, but what if that be so, that is secondary. That is not the issue. We are all sinners fallen short of the glory of God. Yet all have some grace from God reflecting  on them. You may not approve of the ways of others. So what? Gandhi said truly that sometimes you have to love humanity in spite of itself. Certainly Christ did. He loved us enough to die on the cross for our sins. He loved us in spite of ourselves. If you accept only the good in others, you are not loving in a healthy and full relationship. For people need to grow, yes, but they also need to grow out of. It takes love to grow, as well as love to grow out of.

A whole relationship in Christ loves the good in you but also overlooks the questionable in you, hoping and praying you may spiritually grow later on in the fuller sunshine of His grace. The full Christian loves as  best he can, then leaves it to God, praying God’s fuller graces may fall upon the loved one later. As God’s grace is symbolized by the light of the sun, we see ourselves, as people of God, we are the moons that reflect His grace. In this world of darkness the reflections of God’s grace should be seen in us. We see the grace of God reflected in others, and as the light of a sun is reflected in its moons, so even the blackest nights of our tribulation may shine with His grace present through others.

The kind of love a Christian hopes to give through grace is redeeming love, nourishing love, that care and concern that others grow by and through. lf you shun, you can not share with those shunned or one you  shun, the grace of Christ reflecting on you from God. You cannot give the type love needed. The fourth verse of the hymn, “There is a fountain filled with blood Drawn from Emmanuel’s veins, And sinners,  plunged beneath that flood, Lose all their guilty stains” (Cowper, 1771, early American hymn) states the Christian’s goal most clearly, “Ever since by faith, saw the stream Thy flowing wounds supply,  Redeeming love has been my theme, And shall be till I die.” Redeeming love. That is your aim.

If you believe you should cut off communications with sinners, black people or homosexuals, how wrong  you are! What a graceless pose. How far from Christ! How can you then share redeeming love? People  need to be communicated to with words, in deeds and by social acceptance. If Jesus saw a sinner, He would not shun him, rather He would take Him up. Did the evil Pharisees not ask His disciples why Jesus associated with publicans and sinners? Jesus replied, “They that be whole need not a physician, but they  that are sick. . .I am come to call . . . sinners to repentance.” (Matthew 9:11 -13)

So if you are convinced that you are thoroughly good, which I doubt and double doubt in the name of God, and will associate only with the good, shunning all others you classify as bad, that is not appropriate behavior for a Christian at all. Furthermore you do not understand what good means. Your grasp of the term “good” is shallow, superficial and judgmental. Of grace, you understand nothing at all. As I heard a Quaker preacher warn a very superficial person once, “I think The Lord will not deal happily with thee.”

To disapprove is one thing. That is up to your conscience. But shunning is another matter. That is a sin. That is blocking others from seeing and enjoying the grace God has shared with you. Shunning is often the sin of shy people who do not realize what they have to give. Do not be shy. Do not be timid. Don’t you know you are shining with grace? Shun not anyone. Take part with all. Shine often. Leave no one out. Take your Gospel out into society, Preach yourself, Demonstrate the Gospel according to your share of grace. Share the grace you know, the God you have.

Did not the Apostle say, “by the grace of God, I am what I am,”
(I Corinthians 15:10) Let people see the grace bestowed on you by God was not in vain. if you are wrong, God can stand it. Do you think whatever of grace and truth you know cannot compete in a free market? If you are not trying to pass counterfeit grace, cheap grace, as real, others will see your quality. Not all will, but those chosen to see will. What is better than winning the approbation of good persons who know quality?. Make your mark in the Kingdom of God. Seek the applause of the knowing who are spiritually discerning. Recognize the simple elegance of good choice that makes the spiritual life one of taste. Jesus said, “Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16)

Do not be a prissy giver and say, “they are not deserving of acceptance or gifts” Are you deserving? lf the Lord Jesus had “deserving” in His mind when He died to save you, where might you be? Have you not heard that all “have sinned and come short of the glory of God” ? (Romans 3:23) If we falling short of the glory of God have received grace and salvation, how much more should those falling short of perfection in society deserve our help and acceptance? Think. Are you an ingrate? We should do out of thankfulness to God for what He has done for us.

And do not be spiritually insensate as a prig and say you are giving to others only to help them. Yes, you help others but that is a half truth told by the half baked. We need to give not only for others but because we grow spiritually through giving and accepting others. When we help others, we help ourselves to grow up spiritually.

Love is often more for the sake of those loving than those loved. Charity is more for the sake of those giving, than those given to. Why did Jesus say? “it is more blessed to give than to receive.” (Acts 20:35) True enough, it is receiving that catches the imagination of the vulgar, but the deeper joy of giving is known by the spiritual, those refined by grace and civilized by redeeming love. lt is redeeming love that civilizes us and makes us in the image of our Redeemer, Christ. We need to know it to give it.

What the homophobic try to imply is that because of their sexual orientation homosexuals deserve no grace; therefore we should make them into a caste of “untouchables,” like the Hindus had. This is ridiculous. It is sinful. It is placing all your judgments of others on sex. Now, that is unbalanced thinking and judging. There is nothing wrong with sex. Sex is a great thing and a good thing with the qualification  nearly everything including it has: it must be used wisely. Sexuality is a supportive blessing from God if enjoyed wisely and used well. But people today in this wrong valued, decadent, non-spiritual and secular  society are obsessed by sex. That seems to be all they see. Their view is one sided and warped.

If you are one obsessed, can’t you get any further than mere sex in your judging of others and your thinking about them.? In this free society a person does not have to enter into sexual relations unless he or she wants to. Since that is the case, why are some so cruelly obsessed with sex in the lives of others? Or in their own lives.

Sex and money are the cruel obsessions of this society. This society is as a bucket of squirming secular worms writhing in agony over sex and money. Now, Hear the Word of the Lord! When will the soul-denying and inner life defying realize there are other things in life to value? When will they see  people have more to be judged by than sex and money. There are more important things than those.  When will it be seen people are reflections of grace, tarnished by sin but created shining in the image of God. There is a spark of God’s light in each of us. When is it to be realized that all have souls? How long, Oh, Lord? How long? How long will you there limit yourself, your life to being another worm in the bucket? (The way it looks from the view on the ground is nearly forever, but I smile. I know better. I wait on the Lord. My faith is in God who walks the universe touching, often knighting different and often humble people with great grace and great experiences. Should not your faith be in God too?)

All people have graces. The world constitutes a part of Christ’s creation and, like the Body of Christ, has different members with particular gifts, each of which is a grace. Study Ephesians 12:27-31. As it is in the Church full of special grace and sinners, so it is in the world full of common grace and sinners. All should use their particular graces to cooperate and work in harmonious glorification of God together, using what talents they have. But no one should be denied the Kingdom of God. No one should be left out. All are of God, regardless of their sins. They must be included. No untouchables. No race rejection.

The Kingdom of God is like a life boat we are in. All of us need to row. We cannot stop to start fighting among ourselves over who belongs in it. Let us all row together. This-is-not the time to stop the spiritual progress we are making to quarrel with each other over their sins. This is no time  to accuse and abuse. I’m not sure there ever is a time for that.

The Kingdom of God ideally working is all the different graces harmoniously attuned and working together. If you watch, pray and observe, you may sometimes feel and be part of “Kingdom Moments.” Those “Kingdom Moments” are when we sense or feel the unity in life among us as we work for God’s Kingdom in harmony and caring, it is not a matter of the violence of an organization forced upon us, but a sense of  spiritual unity freely achieved to work for something good..

You may have such bright spiritual moments OF REALIZATION OF THE KINGDOM WORKING in your church, your family, your team, anywhere, as you may briefly experience the unity of things when at some task that brings all together to work for the types of good actions commonly needed in God’s world. I do not think these Kingdom Moments come if everyone who wants to be there is not welcomed. Shunning, looking down on others for their morals, or for money, or for any false reason violates the Oneness of  Christ necessary for the coming of Kingdom Moments.

There are Kingdom of God moments in which you may be startled by the sudden sensing of the Kingdom of God or just quietly feel it, having glimpsed the ideal heavenly pattern of harmony and cooperation God  has hidden behind our often irritating and chaotic world. Remember on earth we see through a glass darkly,  but every now and then for a few moments of grace the spiritual glass is illuminated. We do as the Apostle did, look in. We may see poorly, darkly, barely distinguishable but we see, we feel, we know.

Of course some and maybe most moments, as people work together, are low moments of no transcendent quality working on a wretched-assembly line an unthinking industrial society has made of life. We do that work, but we live through that work, not for that work. How sad it is to have to live through any work we are not able to enjoy and glorify God in, to have work lacking spiritual content and commitment.

Yet when a Kingdom Moment comes unexpectedly by grace, slipping into our lives, for the moment it illuminates the storm of the gloomy and dark secular night around us as lightning does illuminate the dark  storms of earth. Remember in Christ we walk by faith reinforced by lightning, illuminated by flying sparks of grace as God’s hammer hits the anvil of the world. You will, I think, as I often do then: stand in grace  and wonder before a brief glimpse of the Kingdom of God working. It is the reassurance of a thing not often seen. I feel an understanding for a fleeting moment of a unity deeper than you or I normally know.  Temporarily elevated and lifted in my feelings of unity in God, I find myself singing quietly or humming to God in deep appreciation, “How Great Thou Art.”  

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Dr. James MacLeod may be contacted through the Neill Macaulay Foundation.