By Rev. M Barclay
“The kin-dom of God is not coming with things that can be observed; nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘There it is!’ For, in fact, the kin-dom of God is within you.” (Luke 17:20-21)
Pause for a moment and look at your hands.
Hold them open and remember all that they hold.
Turn them over, and consider all the ways they can bless.
They are always brimming with sacred potential.
The kin-dom of God is within you.
Let your body be at rest.
Feel your chest rise and fall with your breath.
Remember your body is inhaling the exhales of y/our ancestors.
The life-breath that sustained them, sustains you. Your beating heart.
Your body is exhaling air that will fill the lungs of those yet to come.
Creatures and creations, across generations, are bound together, sharing and shaping breath.
Who do you need to remember still lingers in the air?
The kin-dom of God is within us.
Next time you look in the mirror, take a moment to look yourself in the eyes.
See all they carry.
Joy. Hurt. Memories. Beloveds. Laughter. Hope. Grief. Desires.
The kin-dom of God within you.
It’s all there.
It’s all here.
Waiting to be birthed.
Through our flesh.
Like Mary, we may wonder: how can this be?
And as with Mary, God depends on our “yes, may it be so.”
She was so courageous.
With no external signs to promise the risks would be worth it.
No long-term plans.
Nowhere to look – left or right – to find answers or proof or certainty it would work out.
But still, she said yes.
The kin-dom of God is not somewhere far off.
It’s not even somewhere outside of us.
It’s within us. And among us.
And I wonder what might manifest,
if we regularly called it forth from ourselves in prayer,
If we called it out of each other like a gentle invitation,
like a cry of freedom,
like there’s nothing else that can save us.
Jesus, always pointing us, not to the heavens above, but the heavens within and around. Always pointing us back to each other and the water and the trees and the children. Always reminding us that he was the way – the path, the process – not to be fixated on but to be changed by for a collective purpose.
Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these. (John 14:12)
The collective longings and dreams of our time:
an end to violence, all bodies fed and safe and well, authentic companionship, earth restored, rest…
That’s the kin-dom in us.
Yearning to take on flesh.
Waiting to be turned into greater works than we can even imagine.
Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of him, and the boy was cured instantly. Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not cast it out?” He said to them, “Because of your little faith. For truly I tell you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.” (Matthew 17:18-20)
Just a little faith. The tiniest amount. And Jesus says, we’ll be compelled and able to call forth the impossible. And in doing so, we will begin to make the impossible possible.
Not without risk.
Not without each other.
Not without love.
But it’s all here already.
Everything we need.
If we’ve got just a little faith.
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Rev. M Barclay is a United Methodist deacon serving as Director of enfleshed. M formerly served as Director of Communications at Reconciling Ministries Network, advocating for queer and trans justice in The UMC. They have also enjoyed working as a hospital chaplain, youth director, justice associate and faith coordinator for reproductive justice in Texas. As a queer and trans minister, M is passionate about writing, teaching, and preaching on finding the Sacred in the people, places, and ideas often overlooked.