To Nicodemus, Jesus spoke an encoded message, pure Kingdom-speak which, to ears listening with world-speak filters in place, came across as ludicrous, impossible. As a matter of fact, it was that way to the Pharisees, too, and to the disciples, and to Martha and Mary, etc. Maybe like trying to read Italian and trying to make sense of the combinations of letters, all of which look familiar, but which, overall, are impossible to decipher. Jesus’ famous prayer, that the disciples remain in the world without being ‘of’ the world is equally fuzzy. Just the other day I was listening to, and quasi following, two IT guys, that is, until they launched into tech speak. Suddenly, I was adrift toward a hazy horizon, their voices a far-off blah, blah, blah.  Their conversation continued with great animation, while I began scanning the room for another, safer group with which to find mooring.

The following quote might help us in our struggle to grasp the concept of Kingdom:

“If we only had eyes to see and ears to hear and wits to understand, we would know that the Kingdom of God, in the sense of holiness, goodness, beauty is as close as breathing, and is crying out to be born both within ourselves and within the world; we would know that the Kingdom of God is what we, all of us, hunger for above all other things even when we don’t know its name or realize that it’s what we’re starving to death for. The Kingdom of God is where our best dreams come from, and our truest prayers. We glimpse it at those moments when we find ourselves being better than we are and wiser than we know. We catch sight of it when, at some moment of crisis, a strength seems to come to us that is greater than our own strength. The Kingdom of God is where we belong. It is home, and whether we realize it or not, I think we are, all of us, homesick for it.”

― Frederick Buechner (1926-2022)

One professor I had would enter the classroom and just launch into some random subject to get everyone talking. It would only be after several minutes that (for me) it would become obvious that he had been teaching the whole time (nothing random with him!). No official intro to the class, just a continuation of our last time together. Because Jesus was always teaching, maybe that’s how he was with the disciples. They seemed to never know when he was just chatting, and when he was delivering a meaty teaching which required their full and undivided attention.

We, too, are disciples of Jesus. He continues to teach today. Having our ‘radar’ tuned so as not to miss when he speaks to us, and being ready to take notes, or at least ‘take note,’ are key to a vigorous spirituality. Looking forward to seeing all you note-taking, and taking-note, Jesus apprentices tomorrow, 10 AM, 3 PM UK, 4 PM FR.  PD

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