THE KINGDOM HAS COME

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TEXT

Matthew 13:44-53 NLT

“The Kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure that a man discovered hidden in a field. In his excitement, he hid it again and sold everything he owned to get enough money to buy the field—and to get the treasure, too!

“Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a pearl merchant on the lookout for choice pearls. When he discovered a pearl of great value, he sold everything he owned and bought it!

“Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a fishing net that is thrown into the water and gathers fish of every kind.  When the net is full, they drag it up onto the shore, sit down, sort the good fish into crates, and throw the bad ones away. That is the way it will be at the end of the world. The angels will come and separate the wicked people from the godly, throwing the wicked into the fire. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Do you understand?”

“Yes,” they said, “we do.”

Then he added, “Every teacher of religious law who has become a disciple in the Kingdom of Heaven is like a person who brings out of the storehouse the new teachings as well as the old.” When Jesus had finished telling these stories, he left that part of the country.

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What is the kingdom? So precious, it’s worth everything; so secret, it’s hidden from all but a few; so divisive, the wicked are thrown into fire. “‘Do you understand?’ ‘Yes,’ they said, ‘we do.'”

-Brian Rhea

The Kingdom of God Is Within You

Chaos in all the world;
In Japan
Defeat . . . .
Poverty . . . .
Utter destitution . . . .
Yet there is also love
That gives and shares,
Thankfulness,
Sacrifice,
And silent uncomplaint.

For where the Spirit of the Cross
Shines deep
Within their hearts,
God’s saints
Await the Day of Glory,
And his Kingdom
Has already come.

Except in holy love
Where can we look for
Heaven?
For Heaven is more than just a place;
It is a state of soul,
A living with our God,
And knowing
He is everywhere.

Heaven is
The Spirit of the Cross,
By which,
Forgiving and forgiven,
One loves all—suffers all.

The Kingdom
Has already come
To this world
Through the Cross;
And Christ’s disciples,
Living in His life

Bring Light.

Light even to
The shacks destroyed by war;
And to the land laid low
By storm and earthquake.
So to him who cries,
“Japan is ruined!” I would say,
“You must forget your Self,
And you must learn to love!”

For lo,
The Kingdom is
Not here, nor there;
The Kingdom is
Within the soul,
Not to be seen,
But felt.

Yes, verily, I know
That only through the Kingdom
There will come day come
The resurrection of Japan.

—Toyohiko Kagawa (1888-1960)

Interpreted by Lois J. Erickson

from Songs from the Land of Dawn

(New York:  Friendship Press, 1949)

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