On a search for a better world, finding it in the most unlikely places
Today’s guest post is from blogger Emily Norton. Emily is a Criminal Justice major at Anderson university. She is a part of the Mercy House community, and also volunteers at the Pendleton Juvenile Correctional facility. In her (very little) spare time, Emily loves to listen to all kinds of music. Her other (and equally amazing) musings can be found at Remembering Autumn .
“I have looked into your eyes with my eyes. I have put my heart near your heart.” – Pope John XXIII
The Kingdom of God is intangible; it’s the quantum mechanics of Christianity. It is guess work, that faith they’re always talking about. As humans we are constantly exploring the idea of reaching out and touching the invisible or crossing those lines between time and space, what we can see and touch and what we cannot. We want to follow the trail of an idea through our dreams, experience another world endangered by greed and deception, be swept up in a whirlwind where reality becomes something more like a dream or an acid trip, or step through that same, old door only to find ourselves in another world where good and evil fight the kind of battle that the human mind can comprehend.
But where I find that I go wrong, is assuming that this Kingdom is somewhere I must travel and that when I finally reach that place I will take in the wondrous sights, saying with certainty, “We’re definitely not in Kansas anymore.”
It’s not that simple to me.
In ‘09, I travelled to Memphis with my youth group to the Ronald McDonald House and had the opportunity to spend the evenings with the kids and families there. I was naïve but enthusiastic and I wanted to experience God on that trip; I was a little disappointed. I thought that it would be different somehow, and that when I stepped into the room that I would be overwhelmed with… something. But that’s not how it worked. Until the last night we spent with the kids and a met a little guy named Gabriél. He was from Argentina and one of his siblings was being treated at St. Jude Children’s Hospital. His family had come all the way from Argentina so that his brother or sister could be given the kind of treatment necessary. We found some Hotwheels and wrecked them a few hundred times, and as I sat on the over-sanitized, tile floors and looked into Gabriél’s eyes I saw… it.
It’s the same thing that I see every week when I visit the guys at Pendleton Juvenile Correctional Facility or stop to talk to a man or woman on the street with a cardboard sign. Whoever said that the eyes are the window to the soul was on the right track. The eyes are the window to that other world – to Pandora, Oz, Narnia, the Kingdom – because when you look into someone’s eyes, you are equal and that equality is what brings us together.
“There is a road from the eye to the heart that does not go through the intellect.” – G.K. Chesterton
The Kingdom is intangible. I can’t touch it or see it like I can see the four walls of the room where I sit. It’s more like the sunset. I can see it but I don’t know where it really exists. It’s neither here nor there.
Dictionary.com defines it like this:
in·tan·gi·ble [in-tan-juh-buhl] adjective
1.not tangible; incapable of being perceived by the sense of touch, as incorporeal or immaterial things; impalpable.
2.not definite or clear to the mind.
3.(of an asset) existing only in connection with something else.
Existing only in connection with something else… what is that something else? As I understand it, that something else was Christ, when he took on corporeal form stepping into our filth and looking us in the eye, creating a sense of equality from his humility.
Side note: Often, when I hear people talk about humility, humbling themselves, making themselves lesser in order to reach out to others, as if they have to be less to reach a lesser being, to see God. That’s crap. For so long I treated it like that, but I’m realizing that humility is about comprehending that equality exists, not creating it. Christ made himself less, “not [considering] equality with God something to be grasped.” He made himself less to reach us, not the other way around. I’ve found that I’d rather sit in a room full of the fatherless, the homeless, the screw ups and the broken, than the greatest minds in history.
That’s what the Kingdom of God means to me. It means equality, of gender, race, pay grade, job title, denomination, congregation. Looking into the eyes of another child of God and knowing we’re all God’s favorites. We’re still in Kansas, Toto. We never left. The Kingdom is right where It has always been.
“The eyes see only what the mind is prepared to comprehend.” – Henri Bergson