Jesus’ “kingdom of god” (or “kingdom of heaven”) was the merger two visions: cultural change and inner transformation. The personal and the political. The prophetic imagination of Jesus was somewhat fantastical. It was an act of faith. For a person to believe that s/he can truly experience a profound transformation – faith. To believe that we can break the iron grip of power that keeps people under control, inflicting deep suffering on the earth – great faith. We know about that today as we face destruction at the hands of the powers-that-be in corporate offices and government administrations. Jesus knew a little bit about this when he faced down the Roman empire.
The faith required is manifested, not in the hope for some great and miraculous event to bring transformation – it’s not necessarily the belief that The Great Pumpkin will come to the rescue; rather, this form of faith is faith as fidelity, the ability to take the very large small steps on a daily basis and commit one’s self to a path. We often underestimate the great magnitude of small, daily commitments. Dedication is difficult because results are so slow in coming. It’s easier to sleep in when morning rolls around or to watch television in the evening. We need to take small steps based on a big faith in the immense power of small acts of fidelity.
“The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that someone took and sowed in his field; it is the smallest of all the seeds, but when it has grown it is the greatest of shrubs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.” – Jesus as recorded in the Gospel of Matthew, chapter 13