Posted on Nov 2, 2015 in Engagement, Theology blog | 0 comments

by Roland Wrinkle

Who I am and what I believe do not always align. Indeed, they often clash. Paul confessed to the Romans, “I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.” He was talking about sin, but I want to talk about our anticipation of the Kingdom of God coming on the wings of Jesus when He returns and all of the fallen cosmos is renewed. “What a day that will be when my Jesus I shall see,….What a day, glorious day that will be.” You betcha! Well, yeah, that’ll be great, but let me think about it for just a little bit.

WHO I AM: I am as likely to respond to Dorothy’s heels clicking pace to chants of, “There’s no place like home,” as I am to delight in God’s promise of bringing His Kingdom down to this sometimes-crappy earth. I am excessively fond of the comforts my own home brings. After 30 years of running a zoo, the four kids, their 38 friends and their 82 animals sailed for more promising shores. We were left with a tract home that resembled more a burnt-out dumpster than the castle I was promised in aphorisms. The Goodwill came—and refused to take anything. Jane said. “Let’s buy a newer house in Stevenson’s Ranch and not worry about fixing up this disaster.” I refused to move. This was my home. I wasn’t going anywhere. (We remodeled and the place is actually pretty nice now —but that’s not the point of the story). I go out of town for work. I travel for pleasure. I want to go home. I want to sleep in my own bed. I want my wife; I want my dog; I want my hockey game on TV. I want to be comfortable.

WHAT I BELIEVE: If you have ever, possibly while unwrapping fish, actually read anything I have written or listened to me blather on about this stuff, you know that I see the Bible as one big story (with a whole bunch of smaller stories contained within it) beginning with good creation, then our steadfast efforts to screw it all up, followed by God’s promise to Abraham in Genesis 12:3 to restore everything back to wonderfulness (through Israel) and, finally, all that actually coming true in history through the crucified and risen Messiah and culminating in the New Heaven and New Earth foretold in Isaiah 65 and vividly depicted as actually arriving in Revelation 21. Now, here’s what that’s gonna look like: “The home of God is among mortals. He will dwell with them; they will be his peoples, and God himself will be with them; he will wipe every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more…” We will be bodily resurrected to and for THAT! Right now, God is in heaven–but I’m here, shedding tears, dying, mourning for my dead family members and close friends and suffering pain. That’s all going to change! How stupendous is that? I’m a disciple of the risen Jesus of Nazareth because I buy all of this—and I want to do what I can to help usher this Kingdom in and stop all of the bad stuff. But….

HOW THE TWO STRUGGLE AGINST EACH OTHER WITHIN ME: The “but…” is: I like my own bed. Sure, I pray nightly for the blessed termination of all pain and all suffering. Sure, I would give anything for children to not be dying, for cancer to take a permanent holiday in hell, for the pangs of unemployment and the wrenchings of worry to dry up and go away. But…. I like my own house. Can’t I participate in the re-creation of the fallen world from my easy chair, taking in a hockey game every once in a while? “And the one who was seated on the throne said, ‘See, I am making all things new.’” Great! Can God start all of that rolling right after, maybe just a few more times, I enjoy a glass of sauvignon blanc and watch my kids and grandkids swimming in our pool, going down the slide over and over again and then and eating dinner with us?   I so want the Kingdom to come—I ache for it. What about the end of next April?

You know what? I strongly suspect that that’s not how all of this works. God tells us (again, through John the Revelator) that the faithless, the polluted, the murderers, the fornicators, the sorcerers, the idolaters, and all liars ain’t going to make it into that future Kingdom. No problem—I’m none of those. But, you know what comes at the start of that list of excludables? “The cowardly.” New Creation looks like it’s not for the faint of heart. Maybe I should stop draggin’ my feet into the Kingdom of God. Maybe I should gladly leave my palace of comfort and self-satisfaction and go unreservedly with the God who asks me to join Him, in real time and on real soil—as did Abraham, Moses, the Prophets, the Apostles, Paul (all right, maybe a little reservedly there) and countless saints and faithful folks throughout the ages and from all over the world. Maybe, I should be a little less cowardly. (…Maybe one more Stanley Cup and then I’ll be ready.)

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