I just finished reading an ensemble of articles written by Steven Garber. He is a principle of The Washington Institute for Faith, Vocation & Culture. I sent him a carefully worded, tongue-in-cheek, e-mail asking for overriding royalties. It was as if he was eaves dropping looking over my shoulder as I reviewed my regular journal. Not the Wall Street type journal but my time invested reading and writing usually early in the mornings within my womb room. Much of that material is utterly practical for daily use to live in the twenty-first century.
Somehow our current culture has developed an appetite for speed. This world seems to operate at a breakneck pace. This pace is altogether contrary to maintaining physical and mental health in people. Is it just me or does the world appear to be accelerating? Perhaps the days are getting shorter requiring us to cram more living into a smaller amount of time.
Experiencing the Kingdom of Heaven practically is an antidote to the narcotic effects of our culture. “Slow down you tend to get a more harmonious outcome.” This comes from an old movie Crossfire Trail originally written by Louis L’Amore. The movie is set in the 1850’a Wyoming in a cowboy community trying to grow up without growing out of style. Taking time out regularly does take us back in time. It is hitting the pause button on life. A practical experience with the Kingdom of Heaven in the here and now is restorative. It also has lingering effects-enough to last the entire day- changing how we function within the current culture. The restoration effects simply act as a counterbalance to life as it is presented to us in the here and now.
Experiencing the Kingdom of Heaven practically is simple, so simple that it gets missed. It is why much of the criticism of my work comes from people within the religious circles who have cornered the market on spiritual knowledge and the dispensing of it. Gaining access to the Kingdom of Heaven is best accomplished relationally. Practical relationship between us that is all of us, and the Trinity of Heaven. Father God, Son Christ, and the Holy Spirit all readily sit at a banquet table with an empty seat pulled out just for us to take a seat. That relationship once inaugurated leaks out in practical every day ways.
A number of years ago I was attending a conference with a friend of mine in Nampa Idaho. We were having breakfast at a nearby pancake place. As we were eating I noticed a young family shuffle in looking like they had really been through it. As we were finishing our breakfast licking up the last of the coffee dribbles I chose to walk over to the young couple eating with their two children. “Excuse me but I couldn’t help thinking you look like you have been really under it.” They were traveling trying to get home and their car just broke down in this out of the way place Idaho. They were killing time waiting for the parts to come in. I asked if I could pick up the tab for their breakfasts. The father’s mouth dropped open the mother got weepy. With a shake of his head he looked up and said you’re white. I’ve never accepted anything from a white man before, and we aren’t starting now. It was then I realized they were Hispanic. Understanding his boundaries I offered a God bless you today going back to finish my dregs left in my cup. I still feel bad about not being able to help the young couple get some food. A simple practical act, yet unfulfilled in the here and now. As we drove away back toward the conference my friend asked; “What was that all about.” I replied; “A missed opportunity.”
The opportunity was missed here but the bubble of heaven filling the car as I explained was another chance to experience the Kingdom of Heaven in the here and now practically. The Father God never misses a trick. Every conversation counts in the Kingdom of Heaven, even the ones we have regrets about years later.