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The Kin-dom of God Is Like

16 June 2024

By Peter Judd of Des Moines, Iowa, USA

He also said, "With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable will we use for it? It is like a mustard seed, which, when sown upon the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth; yet when it is sown it grows up and becomes the greatest of all shrubs, and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade."

Mark 4:30–32 NRSV

While a member of the church’s staff at international headquarters in the 1970s, I worked with others on preparing an inclusive-language policy to guide writing and editing for church publication. Emphasis was on the use of inclusive language when referring to humanity. This policy has since been expanded to suggest that references to God not be restricted to male-only nouns and pronouns. Thus today’s theme uses kin-dom rather than kingdom. This moves the emphasis away from a male image to the more-inclusive idea that all God’s creation are connected.

This is what Jesus’ life and ministry were and are all about: inclusion. Everyone matters; all are important. From my earliest childhood, I have been given the incredible gift of knowing that I am loved and important. I do not remember a time when I doubted God’s love for me and that I am a person of worth and value. I know that if I really believed that, it would be so much a part of me that I would always treat others as persons of worth, equal worth. But sometimes I forget or get so focused on my own concerns that I treat others as less than of full and equal worth. When this happens, I feel bad and wish to apologize. But I know God forgives me and calls me to try again to model what Jesus calls me to be.

The kin-dom (or reign) of God is realized when people interact and live together in peace and mutual respect, when what we share in common is more important than differences that divide us. Jesus said that God’s reign is at hand or already among us. I believe it exists when we are humble enough to learn and benefit from our differences and accept that we have room to grow because we do not already have all truth. If we lived as if God’s reign is already present, we would experience it more often.

Prayer Phrase

“We, who are many, are one body in Christ” (Romans 12:5).

Spiritual Practice

Spiritual Learning

Meditate on a time when you learned about community from someone who took you in, fed you, taught you, shared stories and wisdom with you. What did you learn? Prayerfully create a list of qualities you need to learn from spiritual mentors and friends. Then write the names of people who serve as teachers, models, coaches, or encouragers in your life as a disciple. Offer a prayer of gratitude and blessing for these spiritual “relatives” and friends.

Today’s Prayer for Peace

Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.


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