April 8, 2016,
Dear Friends and Family of the Diocese of Eau Claire,
Last month at the Episcopal Church’s House of Bishops’ Spring Retreat, our Presiding Bishop, Michael Curry, asked us to think about the word “movement” when Jesus said the word “kingdom.” What I realized is that kingdom is very much a noun symbolizing something fixed or static. Movement is also a noun, but its root (move) is a verb and implies activity. It isn’t fixed but is dynamic. It’s going somewhere! Think about the Beatitudes. Jesus said in Matthew 5, “Blessed are the poor for theirs is the movement (kingdom) of heaven.”
A major theme permeating John’s Gospel is Jesus as king. John wants us to think of Jesus as a king who has come to reign on earth as in heaven. Just like the Lord’s Prayer phrase, “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven,” John wants us to think of God in the person of Jesus attacking and conquering a world of sin, violence, oppression, and degradation. The active qualities he carries into this conflict are love, respect, caring, honor, and truth.
The problem is our eyes glaze over with the words king and kingdom. We begin to think of kings and queens and places like England, France, and Spain. All are connected to places and people who are fixed. When we shift to Jesus as “Mover” instead of “King” we gain a new insight. When Jesus stands before Pilate and we hear Pilate say, “So you are a Mover,” we can see that Jesus is a threat. When Jesus says that his Movement is not of this world, it is easy to understand that this way of life is going to make a difference.
We are called to share the Good News—the Gospel. When our language carries words that are static, we need to do as Bishop Curry teaches and preaches. The Kingdom of God is meant to be the Movement of God. As part of this Movement the Bible is alive and active. The Christian Way is going somewhere. As a Church God is leading us on an exodus from an old way of life to a new one. We need to share with others that we are on a journey that no one wants to miss! Alleluia! Jesus is Risen! With my love and best wishes, I am,
Your brother in Christ,