In Luke 17 the Pharisees are asking Jesus when the kingdom of God would come and he replies: “The coming of the kingdom of God is not something that can be observed, nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is within you.” Some translations have this as: “the kingdom of God is in your midst”, some say it is “at hand”.
The idea is that God’s Kingdom is here, it has arrived in the person of Jesus and we are living in these times now. Cynthia Bourgeault says: “The kingdom is not a place to go but a place you come from. It is a whole new way of looking at the world, a transformed awareness that literally turns this world into a different place”, she says: “you don’t die into it: you awaken into it…”
Bourgeault also writes: “The hallmark of this awareness is that it sees no separation – not between God and humans, not between humans and other humans”. With Jesus, the kingdom is here and as his followers we are one with him and one another. Or we should be living this way.
In this world that seems so divisive let’s live in the reality of the kingdom being here now. Let’s be kingdom people and build bridges, even with those different than us. Jesus urges us to leave the 99 to go after the one the stray (Mt 18:12), he purposefully goes to the people the “religious” ones avoid (Mk 2:15). Let’s be people who expand God’s kingdom.
We must stand for truth but let’s do it in a kingdom way, a way that can be received. You can’t “get to” the other side without a bridge.