We have been socialized into expecting to experience the Kingdom of Heaven only within heavenly places. The photo above is from one of those places. Just outside Paris France is an incredibly spiritual place, the cathedral Charte. I believe it is impossible to walk into this place without feeling the Kingdom of Heaven.
While those goose bumps commonly occur in many places of worship it is also possible to walk in and walk out of church and feel nothing. Sad. Every time I walk into a new church facility I take notice of the absence or presence of the Kingdom of Heaven. Absence occurs because the Father is not invited to reign supreme to will and to do of his great pleasure. It is the most important invitation to extend for any church leader. Father, come abide within your people here! You are the supreme authority taking sovereignty over all that occurs here. The Presence is there because anytime we give over access to our lives to the Father Son and Spirit they receive those offerings. And then movement occurs. The Kingdom of Heaven moves us. There is a forever process going on where we substitute ourselves for the character of Christ. Our constant prayer is less of us more of His Son.
This spiritual facet though is not limited to just sacred spaces. One of the surprising revelations of the Kingdom of Heaven is how omnipresent it is. Over my lifetime I have experienced and continue to experience the Kingdom of Heaven outside the sacred spaces. The Kingdom of Heaven is closer than we have believed.
Recently I was in a shopping mall buying shoes. Now you wouldn’t expect the Kingdom of Heaven to be hanging around inside a Sketchers store. The Hispanic mother in front of me at the checkout line was buying bundles of shoes for her three children all in tow getting perfectly fitted for back to school footwear. This woman was a wonderful mother you could tell because of the behavior of her tribe. The Kingdom of Heaven was near…..and I am not in church! She wore a sweat shirt with angel wings silk screened on the back. I wanted to engage her in conversation but just didn’t get the chance. Oh well maybe next time. I walked out of the store into the mall only to find the mother and the three kids now in conversation with their father sitting on a bench. Opportunity knocked. I walked up to the family and told the mother what I was feeling while watching her inside the store. Told her how much the Father was pleased at how she carried herself and what an example of grace she was to her family. The angel wings were not just clothing but an outward expression of who she was inside. Her husband caught on and chimed in to express his affirmation for his bride and mother of his children. He expanded on what I had just said. When she began to weep a bubble of the Kingdom of Heaven ignited and expanded surrounding all six of us. We laughed, cried hugged one another, patted the heads of the kids gave the basketball player son a high five. For a moment in time a white man and a Hispanic group of six became family. In the Kingdom of Heaven family is not confined to ethnicity.
As I walked to my car I reinforced the thought the Kingdom of Heaven is close. For another brief moment we entered a special spiritual place similar to being inside the cathedral at Charte and very much like the time I was in Heaven. Thy Kingdom come thy will be done ON EARTH as it is in Heaven is happening even now. And not limited to sacred spaces unless you consider shopping malls holy. Maybe we should.
I am writing to encourage readers to expand your beliefs to move outside of the common sacred spaces and move into the “secular” realms. In fact as you continue reading along you will discover there are no secular places, it’s all sacred.
This is meant to be a dialog. Have you experienced the Kingdom of Heaven….maybe even in a Sketchers store in a mall? Write us about it we will respond. This is about expanding the Kingdom of Heaven in the here and now. Until next week…..