On what day will the Kingdom come?

Logion 113

His disciples said to him: On what day will the kingdom come? : It cometh not with observation. They will not say: Lo, here! or: Lo, there! But the kingdom of the Father is spread out upon the earth, and men do not see it.

Main Point: When the disciples ask when will the kingdom come, or when will God come, Jesus tells the disciples it will not come by watching and waiting for it. There will not be one who sees it first over there, or over there, for it is already everywhere. Yet people just do not see it.

New Light: “People just do not see it.” I smile wondering what it would be like if everyone could just see “it,” if all could just know that this kingdom is right here everywhere, right now.

Problems: Implicit in the notion that God is already everywhere is the difficult realization that God is also in suffering. How readily we see God in the sunrise, or in a mother’s delicate embrace of her infant, but how we push away the notion that God could be present in an untimely accidental death, or in war, or any natural or human tragedy.

True to my experience: For most of my life, I could “not see it.” So yes, this is true to my experience. But several experiences, particularly in suffering, I began to see the gentleness, the power, and the magic and mystery of God. Maybe the reason for this was that in suffering it seems that my heart was very soft, looking everywhere for comfort. Finding this comfort, and feeling the love and beauty of the kingdom right in front of and within me was the most amazing experience of my life. For many, I realize, the opposite happens, and in suffering one’s heart becomes hard, closed, angry and bitterly shuts down. Perhaps it is in the clinging to the notion that God represents only beauty, love and goodness, and pushing away any suffering and calling it evil, that it is so difficult for us to see God in all things. This duality, of good and evil, God and non-God, seems to be an invention of ours.

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14 responses

  1. Hi Meredith. I’d be one of those people whose heart is hardened by suffering. A Jesuit motto is “finding God in all things” but I can’t/don’t want to see God in bad things and suffering. If God is in both the good and the bad, he seems then neutral, as opposed to good. I guess gnosticism sees a duality, like you mention, of a good god and an bad god (the demiurge).

  2. Hi Meredith. I am so happy to see that there are others who believe there is no good or evil. In a creation of a loving God how can there be anything evil? By partaking of the knowledge of good and evil (a falsehood) humankind became involved in a course of building a reality of falsehood governed by judgment. In this reality we created the Ego that ventually had to create a god according to what it understood to be truth, but really wasn’t. It takes great TRUST to see good in the most horrible things. We find it so hard to see the goodness in everything simply because we only see a very tiny portion of the entire picture and base our judgment on that. This is where trust comes in. If I can trust that this horrible thing is a blessing to help me grow spiritually and/or attain greater understanding of Truth it gets me through this much quicker and I don’t have to suffer by it. Easy to write these words, not always so easy to implement them.

  3. What if God suffers. I remember psoing that one to an evangelical once. Scared the heck out of him. Nope. No suffering. God’s perfect.But if God doesn’t suffer. Then what? We’re left with a cold cold God.

  4. Hi Matt. You said …If I can trust that this horrible thing is a blessing to help me grow spiritually and/or attain greater understanding of Truth it gets me through this much quicker and I don’t have to suffer by it…. that sounds good but I would say there are bad things that happen to people that have no redeeming characteristics … for instance, ask a little kid what growth she attained from being sexually abised.

  5. Suffering is never redemptive and it is never good. It can be the means to a good end as when someone makes a sacrifice for another. And it can be trasnformed into something good through our response to it or through the grace of God acting in us. But in and of itself — suffering is just suffering.

  6. Hi and welcome, Matt. David, I think that at times God does suffer. It is just not us small beings alone that suffer. And in God’s suffering, as you suggest, compassion and great love are expressed. This opens up the potential for subtle or even radical transformations to unfold “through our response to it or through the grace of God acting in us.”

  7. Crystal, this is my thinking: I’m not a physical being. I’m a spiritual being created in the likeness of the Creator. I have only one life, but that life lasts forever. It consists of many segments. Some are in the physical realm (for the joy of it or mostly attending classes) some are in non-physical realms. At this moment I’m using a physical body to visit this three dimensional plane for whatever reasons, but I’m not that body. I’m only using it as I use any other vehicle of transport. Many of the experiences we encounter are by choice. Many others are as the result of prior thoughts or actions (karma). I believe many souls (and all souls were created at the same time so there are no child souls) willingly undergo what could be called a horrific experience for the benefit of others. Jesus is the prime example. He was willing to go through experiences we probably would not choose to go through. He did what he did for the benfit of others.The example you used “for instance, ask a little kid what growth she attained from being sexually abused” is only looking at a very tiny portion of the entire picture and forming a judgment based on that. When we go through an experience for the benefit of others it is not bad. It is a altruistic action. When we go through an experience as a result of karma it is as a result of life making us face the consequences of our own actions and hopefully learn by this experience. Being held accountable for our actions may not be pleasant but it is not something bad being imposed on us by an outside force.The law of like attracting like says that whatever we create for someone else, we create for ourselves. If we don’t see ourselves as being physical, but as spiritual beings, it makes this life so much more acceptable and enjoyable.

  8. Lots of good stuff in the post and comments. I especially like Matt’s statement: “We find it so hard to see the goodness in everything simply because we only see a very tiny portion of the entire picture and base our judgment on that.”Exactly. How much do we know? how much do we see? How much does the ant know? We are to God as ants are to us. We are surrounded by an ocean of goodness that sustains us through whatever may happen. As Paul put it, “I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”Yes, the innocent suffer constantly for the sins of others, but God will make those things right in due course.

  9. Knowing that where we want to be is different from where we are is the first step towards getting off our duffs and going for a walk.

  10. Hi Matt – now I recognise you from Paul’s blog :-).I think I see where you’re coming from and I can respect that view, but it is very different from my own. Having said that, my own view is buying nothing but misery lately, so ….

  11. Crystal,You write that your heart is hardened by suffering. I hear your misery, and my heart opens for you, my friend.Is there anyway we can be helpful to you? I would love it if we could just step out and sit together, have a cup of tea, and open our hearts of all their sufferings. A friendly ear is sometimes the most compassionate response. You have mine.I love you, crystal.

  12. Meredith – thank you. I love you too :-). It’s true I’m in a bad place right now. Taking care of my cat with cancer is bringing up lots of memories of my mother. I go back and forth between anger and depression. My cat is suffering, I can’t really help him much, it makes me feel sick, i need God to be my buddy now but I’m so mad at him for letting this happen and not fixing it. But maybe I’m maligning God – perhaps he doesn’t even exist. I hate it here on effing planet earth.

  13. Dear Crystal,Ohhh, I see how taking care of your cat right now would bring back some painful memories of your precious mother. It is so hard to watch someone we love suffer. Nothing quite like it – not even our own suffering matches the sad overwhelm of watching a loved one suffer. Feeling helpless to alleviate this suffering makes one feel all the worse, makes us feel sick. You know, if it makes you feel better to malign God for letting this happen and not fixing it, I think it’s OK to do so. After all, God is big enough to take it, don’t you agree? Perhaps it is in getting really mad, crying, raging, screaming mad that we open up to something, some inner softness in our own hearts, existing there all the while. I know this soft place within you – I’ve felt it. I hope you’ll tap into this place right now to be the hand of God for your sweet cat, to stroke him with love, and tenderly care for him in these precious moments you have together. Be the comfort you could imagine a loving God to be for any suffering creature. And Crystal, thank you for sharing this. Imagine some tender arms enfolding you as well. They are right here for you, my friend.

  14. Thanks, Meredith – you’re very kind 🙂

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