Living in the Tension of the Already and Not Yet
Rev. 11:15 Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, saying,
“The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord
and of his Messiah,
and he will reign forever and ever.”
As the seventh angel blows his trumpet more and more of the glory and power of God is experienced. It is in the midst of calamity that a glimpse of heaven is seen and the battle on the cosmic scale is revealed. While all around us the situation may seem dire, God is winning the day and the earthly forces or kingdom is giving way to the kingdom of our Lord. He has begun his reign and it will continue into all of eternity.
This is the very space in which we find ourselves today. We are surrounded by the evils of this world and at times it feels as if they are pressing in upon us in ways which are suffocating. This week the world has been overwhelmed by the crisis of the refugees coming out of Syria. Today’s gospel reading is from Mark 7 — the story of the Syrophoenician woman — a woman from Syria who came to Jesus asking for help. Jesus responded to her need -- how will we?
Today the people of Syria are coming to those who reflect Christ for help and it is in that moment that the kingdom of our Lord can be revealed. It is in and through us that the kingdom of this world is to become the kingdom of our Lord. As he begins his reign in us, his kingdom reigns here on this earth. It is in the presence of multitudes of Christ followers, reflecting the Messiah that the kingdom is already here. You and I are to be the kingdom response to the kingdom of this world.
We don’t sit around on our hands awaiting the return of the Messiah and the kingdom because we know the kingdom is already here. Yes, the Messiah will come again and that’s the “not yet’” part of the equation because when he does return it will be made total and complete. But until that time, we are to be active participants in the “already” of the kingdom.
The result is that we cannot be fatalistic about the places where the kingdom of the world seems to be exercising strength. Instead, we are called to prayer and seeking the face of God as we explore the ways in which the kingdom which we represent can engage. God through his wisdom and power flows through his people. That’s why the angels in heaven can say the “kingdom of this world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of our Messiah.” It’s happening — already — as God’s people live in obedience.
There is tension in this space. That tension is revealed even this week in the faces of those who are fleeing for their lives. You and I are called to that place of tension. It’s hard and we may feel squeezed between the kingdom of the world and the kingdom of the Lord — but that is where we are called to serve. We are ambassadors of the new kingdom, called to faithfully work together with God in the expansion of his kingdom.
The seventh trumpet revealed the space where the tension of the already and not yet would exist. The promise is victory for God’s kingdom. We are to move forward in the power and presence of the already kingdom which is present. This is our calling. Live in the tension and reflect Christ and his kingdom.
Lord, may you encourage your people to live in the tension of your kingdom’s presence. Amen.
Thank you to Nazarene Publishing House and Keri Mitchell for helping to create and publish Reflecting the Image. This is not a devotional book, but rather a collection of thoughts and stories which lead us in the direction of reflecting Christ. Click on the image to take you to the NPH bookstore.The book is also available in Kindle format on Amazon.com.