This is a tale of two kingdoms. Two kingdoms that have interacted in ways that often makes it difficult to tell them apart. Yet, they have created the world in which we live today, and they tell a vital story. How I began to understand that story though is a little more prosaic, and goes back to a camping holiday on the coast of England…
While we are called to be a people of the kingdom, we remain in the world. From the beginning of civilisation, man has sought his place in the world. Finding himself alone and powerless, he has sought out others that together they might have the power to shape their own destiny. They look towards the safety of the city built with their own hands: Babylon the Great. The name of all cities everywhere, where man sits in his pride.
We are called to both look forward to the New Jerusalem and also to begin to inhabit it now, as people of God’s kingdom. From the beginning, God has intended to have a people. This story runs through Abraham and the Jewish people and reaches its unexpected fulfilment as Jesus breathed his last on the cross. A way was opened for all mankind to be his people, and for his presence to dwell among them.
When the light of God shines, man’s light is seen for what it is - utter darkness. When the light of God shines on our delusions they are shattered. The call goes out to wake up and leave the city of Babylon, and to let the light of God shine through us into this world.