When people are asked what the Kingdom of God looks like they'd probably automatically think of a traditional looking church. Perhaps they'd think it was a holy huddle of believers that shut themselves off from the rest of the world. Or maybe they'd think it was a bunch of old ladies wearing hats and floral patterned dresses sitting on hard wooden pews in a dusty, dim building. That is not, I believe, what God's Kingdom looks like.
Every now and again you might get a glimmer of what God's Kingdom is like. It's sometimes in moments of laughter and joy; but sometimes also in comforting someone in great pain. I don't think there is anywhere that fully shows the real beauty of God's Kingdom but we sometimes find a part of it, and sometimes we may even not realise we've seen it until a lot later.
When I was in Year 10, I began running my school's Christian Union. I didn't do that great a job and the attendance was rather low. However, I persisted and by the time I was in sixth-form a teacher that went to a local church began to help me run it. We would alternate and I would do one week and she would do the other.
There were two groups of people within that CU. First was a group of girls that attended the same church as the teacher. To this day I don't really know why they came. They didn't get involved, they ignored whatever I said and they would blank me in the school corridors.
It recently struck me, however, how the other group was one of those rare insights into how it could be. We were, to be frank, a bunch of misfits. I was one of the only ones that attended church regularly, and I doubt most of them believed in God. We all had our problems: I hated sixth-form and for most of the time I was miserable; one girl was extremely shy; another guy was somewhat gregarious and often annoyed people; another girl was having problems at home. However, one lunch time every week we came together, ate doughnuts, played games and chatted about life and what following God meant. It wasn't perfect. Our personalities grated sometimes, people would fall out and we'd have all the drama of teenager life. But somewhere in all that mess was a faint picture of God's Kingdom.
Thinking back, I really miss that small group. I cut most of my connections with the sixth-form upon leaving and I don't really know what is happening in their lives. I very much doubt that there was much of a lasting impact for everyone else, but this picture has certainly remained with me.
- Did your school have a Christian Union? What was it like?
- What glimmers of God's Kingdom have you seen?
- How can we show what God's Kingdom is like here and now?