Imagine a world where there is radical grace and radical forgiveness, where transparency is the norm. Everybody is honest, giving and loving, even when no one is looking. Imagine a place where everyone involved works from a place of integrity, innovation and ingenuity. This is a movement, not an institution.
Imagine a place where no one wonders what’s on anyone else’s heart, because everything is shared without shame. There is a bedrock humility that allows people to hear each other, really hear each other. Imagine a place characterized by deep compassion – a preference almost – for people in the margins No one gets left behind. People tend to each other like treasure.
This place we’re dreaming of is known for the way people love each other. Even the conflicts are handled with grace and generosity; peace seems to multiply. No one gets written off. In fact, we end up praying for and going out of our way for the ones who ought to aggravate us the most. Somehow they become more important by virtue of their thorns.
There is a river of holiness flowing through this world we’re imagining, a hunger and a thirst for God that drives us. We move and shake, not to earn our salvation, but because of it. It is the grace that gets us going. The mercy. We can’t get over it.
Imagine a place where everyone is grateful … and acts like it.
Did I mention that in this world, we are all really generous? We don’t hold back. Imagine a place where the priorities are all clear and in the right place, so no one throws good energy and good money away on bad ideas and impulses. Everyone thinks with the good of others in mind. We are not protective of ourselves or our stuff so everyone is giving, which means there is more than enough and never any sense of need. Or at least not neediness. Our giving isn’t forced, like some kind of communism, nor is it a contest. We just can’t seem to help ourselves (it must be something in the water). We give and give because we are just so grateful. For everything.
In this world, we don’t worry. Can you even imagine that? Anxiety and stress are not part of this culture. We are not passive; but there is a kind of flow to this life without tension. Peace is prevalent. In this world, there are no houses built on sand.
And the person in charge? He’s the king of compassion, the prince of peace, the God of generosity, the Lord of love. Everything great about this world we’re imagining, he
invented. He loves in crazy ways; it always seems new. Pure and holy and strong.
This Person-in-Charge is really sure of himself, in a good way. Humble but solid. People who don’t get him don’t phase him. He is not threatened because he knows who he is, which makes the rest of us feel more safe. It’s almost like we are safe by association; this leader of ours is bold and courageous and good. The ultimate in trustworthy.
This world we’re imagining is the Kingdom of God, the way Jesus describes it in the Sermon on the Mount (Mt. 5-7). He paints a picture there of a whole new way of being. Not a return to better days, not a tweak of what we have, but something that will change everything. What Ford did with transportation and what Apple did with communications is what Jesus did with community. He cast a vision for something that would make what we have seem like the rotary phone. With a cord.
Buckminster Fuller, a systems theorist and innovator, once said, “You never change something by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.” When Jesus stood on a hill one day and spread the Kingdom before ordinary people, he was giving us a glimpse of what could be. A place rich with grace and holiness. A place with heart.
This is the in-breaking Kingdom and this is the character of our King, and when I set my face toward that world, I am a better person.