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Saturday, December 30, 2006

Kevin Hart / The Kingdom of God

I've been thinking lately about the kingdom of God, and I have a lot of questions ... is it something that takes place after we die, the afterlife... is it happening right now, in us and around us, a state of mind ... is it the second coming, to be lived out here on earth after judgement day?

I looked around ... the basics can be found at both Wikipedia and The Catholic Encyclopedia. Here's a little of what Wikipedia had, including the differing impressions of two Jesuits, one of whom is William A. Barry SJ :-) ...

In the synoptic Gospels (which were written in Greek), Mark and Luke use the Greek term 'basileia tou theou', commonly translated in English as "Kingdom of God," while Matthew prefers the Greek term 'basileia tōn ouranōn' which has been translated as "Kingdom of Heaven." .... In Matthew, "heaven" stands for "God." The word “kingdom” is a translation of the Greek word “basileia” which in turn is a translation of the words "malkuth" (Hebrew) and "malkutha" (Aramaic). These words do not define kingdom by territory but by dominion. Jesus said of the Kingdom of God that one cannot say, “Look here it is!” or “There it is!” Luke 17:21. According to C.H. Dodd, the common translation of “malkuth” with “basileia” in Greek and hence “kingdom” in English is therefore problematic; a translation with “kingship,” "kingly rule," “reign” or “sovereignty” should be preferred ....

According to Fr. William Barry, S.J., we can understand the Kingdom of God as God's intention for the universe. God has revealed that His intention for our world is that all humans live as brothers and sisters, as sons and daughters of God (Is 2:2-5, Is 11:6-9, Is 40:4-5, Eph 1:3, 9-10). Our thoughts and actions can either be in tune with God's intention or not. Only by being in tune with God's intention will we ever know true fulfillment or happiness in this life. Prayer, discernment and knowledge of God's revealed Word are needed to discover how one can be in tune with God's intention.

According to Fr. Daniel J. Harrington, S.J., the Kingdom of God primarily refers to the era when Christ comes again to bring the final establishment of God’s rule over all creation, which will include a final judgment where the righteous are rewarded and the wicked are punished. The concept of the Kingdom of God offers the goal for Christian life: those who follow the example and teachings of Jesus will be vindicated when the Kingdom of God comes and will reign with Christ forever ....

And I found a really interesting article - The Experience of God - The Experience of the Kingdom of God, by Kevin Hart, poet and professor of philosophy and lietature at Notre Dame. I'm not sure I understood it well - I'm still full of questions.

Here's a poem by Hart that seems at least partly in the ball park, subject-wise...

The Last Day

When the last day comes
A ploughman in Europe will look over his shoulder
And see the hard furrows of earth
Finally behind him, he will watch his shadow
Run back into his spine.

It will be morning
For the first time, and the long night
Will be seen for what it is,
A black flag trembling in the sunlight.
On the last day

Our stories will be rewritten
Each from the end,
And each will hear the fields and rivers clap
And under the trees

Old bones
Will cover themselves with flesh;
Spears, bullets, will pluck themselves
From wounds already healed,
Women will clasp their sons as men

And men will look
Into their palms and find them empty;
There will be time
For us to say the right things at last,
To look into our enemy’s face

And see ourselves,
Forgiven now, before the books flower in flames,
The mirrors return our faces,
And everything is stripped from us,
Even our names.


Blogger Victor said...

Hey, interesting posts. The Kingdom seemed to always be on the lips of Jesus. More than just a nice feeling or the church itself, he talks of the Kingdom as the hope of the faithful. Also, it is the theme of the gospel itself (Luke 4:43). When was the last time you heard a sermon the definition of the Kingdom of God? amazing really...growing up, I never did...

It be interesting to know what else you're thinking on the subject.

5:43 AM  
Blogger crystal said...

Hi Victor,

I am really so lost in all this stuff. I try to read about it and ask others what they think, but I'm not so good at understanding it. I think the modern view is that the kingdom is more a way of living God's desires for us than a place or a future event. If this is so, it puts a lot of responsibility on me, it seems, and I'm not sure I'm up to it.

11:38 AM  

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