The Kingdom Among Us

"nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘There it is!’ For, in fact, the kingdom of God is among you” (Lk. 17:21)
Back in February I had the opportunity to preach at Anderson University for their Impact Your World Week. It was a surreal experience to preach from the pulpit in an auditorium where I once occupied the same back-row chair for four years.

Before the service I stood for a moment behind the podium and I felt a flood of memories overwhelm me. I thought about the hours I spent playing frisbee golf instead of studying, the day I met my future wife in the wellness center, midnight walk we used take in the valley, and the laughter of my best friends over an endless (and apparently calorie-free) supply of desserts. I also remembered the hundreds of hours spent with people scheming how best to make a difference in our city, to bring God's Kingdom in Anderson.

I had no idea at the time how lucky I was. That togetherness of mission has proven illusive since college. Even in the best of churches, we mostly find a group of say 100 adults, going in 200 different directions. We go in these directions almost exclusively out of good motives. We want to do what's best for our kids. We need to make enough money to cover mortgages, college debt, insurance, retirement, and some leisure. These benign, if not virtuous, pursuits bring us to church exhausted. We worn-out adults want comfort from our preachers and church leaders. We come to the table without the capacity to scheme together for the kingdom.

But in college, things tend to be simpler. Debts and mortgages are distant shadows, no one takes them seriously. Stress revolves around whether your crush noticed you in the lunch line or if you studied enough to pass an exam. So in the evenings, when you're just relaxing and dreaming with friends, if an idea for helping the world comes up, you're surrounded by energized and like-minded go-getters. 

It made me wonder, if perhaps Jesus' sentiment that the Kingdom of God is "among you all," is an especially easily target for college students. If so, we who live in the land of non-trivial pursuits might just need to stop and take a lesson from them. I think the world could use a slower, more together church of adults. 

You can check out my sermon here:



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