89 The Lord exists forever; your word is firmly fixed in heaven. 90 Your faithfulness endures to all generations; you have established the earth, and it stands fast. 91 By your appointment they stand today, for all things are your servants.
20 Once Jesus was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God was coming, and he answered, “The kingdom of God is not coming with things that can be observed; 21 nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘There it is!’ For, in fact, the kingdom of God is among you.”
22 Then he said to the disciples, “The days are coming when you will long to see one of the days of the Son of Man, and you will not see it. 23 They will say to you, ‘Look there!’ or ‘Look here!’ Do not go, do not set off in pursuit. 24 For as the lightning flashes and lights up the sky from one side to the other, so will the Son of Man be in his day. 25 But first he must endure much suffering and be rejected by this generation.
“The Kingdom of God is among you” (Luke 17:21)
Sometimes hidden forces are the most powerful. Think about the work that goes into digging a canal: huge machines, lots of noise, noticed by everybody. Now compare that with the Grand Canyon. It’s a slower process, and at least at first you wouldn’t even notice what was happening, but the final results are much more impressive. No excavation crew could ever have completed such a beautiful project.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus teaches us about the most powerful unseen force of all: the kingdom of God. He explains that the coming of this kingdom isn’t accompanied with a lot of fanfare, and many don’t notice it. Rather, Jesus’ humble coming in the flesh was the inauguration of the kingdom, and that was a very quiet beginning. But from that point on, everything was different. The kingdom’s forces are now at work in a new way, and it’s only a matter of time before Jesus takes up his reign in a much more public way.
So we live in an “already, but not yet” time. God’s kingdom truly is among us, but it is not yet fully visible. This isn’t always easy for us. We want to see more; we want to experience more, but God is asking us to exercise our faith and trust in his unseen presence and his invisible power. He wants us to live in hope – not a wishful denial of reality, but a sure and certain assurance that his kingdom truly is with us. We can be peaceful and trusting, knowing that Jesus, our King, is in control, and we will eventually see his very public return in glory.
So our time is one of both rest and activity. We rest in God and his promises, but we are also active agents of the kingdom. Sometimes our work is nothing more than admiring the work of the mighty river as it carves out the magnificent architecture of the kingdom. But at other times, we can point out this work in progress to someone else. And at all times, we can give thanks to our King, who is always at work in the world around us.
Lord, we thank you for the Kingdom that you have begun. We look forward to that day in which you will return and establish the Kingdom of God in all of its fullness, for all eternity. In the blessed name of Christ. Amen.
O God, the King eternal, who dividest the day from the darkness, and turnest the shadow of death into the morning: Drive far off from us all wrong desires; incline your hearts to keep thy law; and guide our feet into the way of peace, that having done thy will with cheerfulness while it was day, we may, when the night cometh, rejoice to give thee thanks; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.