“The glory of God is a human fully alive,” so said Irenaeus, and this line is both quoted and a theme for Trevor Hudson’s new book, Discovering Our Spiritual Identity: Practices for God’s Beloved.
This book is a workbook, and I’ve not mentioned that yet. Each chp has sidebars and blocks and questions for us to fill in — to ponder all over anew the Signpost of the chapter. Great book.
Trevor tells the story of having to learn the hard way — in the middle of his ordination exam — to see the kingdom as the focus of Jesus.
But what is this kingdom? Trevor and I define the kingdom in a similar way. Here’s his: “the kingdom is wherever the loving will of the Father effectively reigns.” (I’d say “the society in which the will of God is done.”)
The kingdom is at hand — and at hand for us — at hand for us today.
But first we must receive the kingdom. It is not ours by birthright.
How do we receive it? Trevor explores one image: either we respond to the kingdom with clenched fists (unreceptive) or open hands (repentance and faith).
He’s here of course quoting the famous lines of Jesus in Mark 1:14-15 (kingdom at hand, repent and believe).“Gifts are received with open hands. It is the same with the offer of God’s kingdom.”
Repentance: a change in our way of thinking, a turning back or return. And it does three things: It turns us in a new direction; it changes our distorted attitudes; and it gives our lives a new center from which a new kind of life beings emerging.
Faith: to believe means affirming something very particular about Jesus; it means entrusting ourselves to the crucified and risen Christ; it means steadfastly learning from Jesus how to live.