If you read Part I, you learned the story behind the name “Kingdom Scene.” Now it is time to understand the concept and, more importantly, what substantiates it. Simple and practical yet deep and theological, the concept of a “kingdom scene” has been slowly changing my life, my perspective of the world around me, and how I interact with the world and those in it.
Let’s start with the simple and practical…
“Kingdom scenes” are situations where God’s love or truth are proclaimed or demonstrated. They take place when aspects of God’s character—his love, truth, justice, power, or beauty—are revealed in peoples’ lives and in the world.
Now for the deep and theological…
The concept of a ‘kingdom scene’ is centered on Jesus. The message proclaimed by Jesus was that of the ‘kingdom of God.’ He launched his ministry with this message (Matthew 4:17), he centered most of his parables on it, he taught his followers to seek it above all things (Matthew 6:33), and he relayed how it is intimately connected to his presence (Luke 17:41). Jesus’ message was that the kingdom, God’s rule and reign, had invaded earth through his coming. Such a claim is a bold one, if not a crazy one!
Yet, it was believed by his followers. And, even more, it was substantiated through his death and resurrection. We’ll go into the evidence for the resurrection in future posts, but have a little faith in this simple truth: if Jesus was not resurrected, Christianity does not exist.
Because of the resurrection, Jesus’ message of God’s kingdom is authenticated as is his promise to return for the kingdom’s full establishment. In other words, the kingdom, God’s rule and reign, is like a seed that is growing little by little as hearts, lives, nations, and cultures are impacted by the gospel of Jesus. And one day, when Jesus comes back, the kingdom of God will be manifested fully as our broken world is perfectly restored.
The kingdom of God has come and we can see expressions of it all over the world…maybe even in our lives. The kingdom of God will come, and when it does, the entire world and everything in it will be transformed. In the mean time, ‘kingdom scenes’ take place. These are situations that reveal the character of God and his kingdom, that point to the love and truth of Jesus and his resurrection, and that anticipate the restoration of all of creation that will one day come. Every act of love, word of truth, work of creativity, and activity working for justice may in fact be a ‘kingdom scene.’ Each significant conversation, targeted prayer, or act of service may just be a signpost of hope ultimately pointing to Jesus.
Ok, there’s the deep theology behind it stated as simply as I know how. Let’s make it super practical. Deeply held beliefs produce simple, consistent actions.
If we actually believed that God could use our faith (active in love) to manifest scenes of his kingdom, then we would look for opportunities to take part.
‘Kingdom scenes’ take place in our minds as we believe God’s word and his truth more deeply.
They take place in our hearts as we grow in our desire to know and reflect his character.
They take place through our lips and hands as we reveal God’s character to the world around us in the ways in which we were uniquely created.
So, what should we do to engage in ‘kingdom scenes?’ Simply put, we should love God and love others well. These are the greatest commandments according to Jesus (Matthew 22:37-40).
Every time we read or meditate on the Scriptures, God’s character is being revealed to us…a kingdom scene may be happening. Every time we spend moments in worship or prayer, God’s gracious rule over our lives is intensifying…more kingdom scenes. Every time we put the needs of another before ourselves, resist a temptation, share our story, ask for or offer forgiveness, care for the broken, seek restoration both near and far…more and more kingdom scenes. They could take years of strategic planning or just moments of selfless behavior. Initiating a warm greeting to a stranger. Offering a helping hand. Giving a word or note of encouragement. Being present in the midst of another’s suffering. Using gifts and talents to benefit others. Taking time to listen. Praying prayers. Reading scriptures. Enjoying creation. Having significant conversations. Any time we exercise our faith to love God and others more than ourselves, a kingdom scene may just be taking place.
Look for them each day. Seek to be a part. Little by little they change the world.