Have you ever sat and wondered when the Kingdom of Heaven is going to arrive? When will the second coming of Christ happen?
We look at these questions from a perspective that is purely centred on ourselves when we ask them. It’s like putting the blinkers on a horse, you can only see in one direction and can’t see everything else happening around us. If ever you needed proof of growth, all you need to do is look back to Jesus. He is at the heart of everything, at the very centre of everything, the deepest root of the vine that is constantly growing, flourishing and blooming.
Yes it is being pruned or vines break, yes it is constantly under attack; persecution happens every single day of the week in all of its various forms but the roots of Christianity are deep and cannot be dug out by anyone. Even if all of the evil in this world made a consolidated attempt to pluck out the heart of Christianity it would fail, they would suffer from great weakness before they even got close; their resolve and strength would dissipate like the fog before the Sun because we have a light in Jesus far brighter and stronger than any Sun.
Jesus is at the heart of everything, he is in our hearts, in our minds, in our words, our dreams, and our hope eternal. Want to see how Christianity has grown? Take a look at this verse from Acts…
Acts 8:1-3 (NIVUK)
8 And Saul approved of their killing him.
The church persecuted and scattered
On that day a great persecution broke out against the church in Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria. 2 Godly men buried Stephen and mourned deeply for him. 3 But Saul began to destroy the church. Going from house to house, he dragged off both men and women and put them in prison.
This all happened not long after Jesus died and was resurrected. His followers were hunted down, persecution was rife, anyone showing any sign of not conforming and declaring themselves to be of Christ where taken; we can find similarities throughout this world right now where people are being persecuted for being different, for wanting to make a difference.
And yet, even this first large scale persecution of Christians has not stemmed the growth of our faith. The followers of Jesus scattered, far and wide, the word of God and the love of Jesus followed them, walking in their steps.
From small acorns great oaks grow; from the small intimate gatherings of Jesus and his disciples to the feeding of the thousands, from those faithful few, who held Jesus in their hearts after Jesus delivered salvation to the entirety of humanity and creation, to the masses who worship in churches worldwide today. Growth has happened, God’s kingdom has grown, and is still growing.
There is a song we sing at messy church (we’ve even sung in Sunday worship with actions!) called Our God is a great big God, I would extend that and say the Kingdom of Heaven, God’s Kingdom is a great big Kingdom and is growing day by day.
Hope in the future can be found in both the past and the present, it is found in Jesus, because He exists in our past, our present and our future, He is our solid foundation, and we can weather any storm that tries to break us if we remain strong in our faith, so that we too may contribute to the growth of God’s Kingdom.
Dear Lord, the Kingdom of Heaven is indeed great.
May everything that we do and say be for your glory, for your Kingdom,
that everyone may be delivered through your grace.
Please bless all our Christian brothers and sisters,
and protect all those who suffer,
regardless of origin, creed, belief or ability,
through the deeds of others.
Please, we pray, grant them peace and harmony in their lives.
May all of humanity learn to support all those who seek peace.
We pray for the love of Christ to be upon this world,
to comfort the living and the dead.
We pray for angels to descend and defend
all who are in desperate need.
All of this we pray in the name of your loving Son,
our Saviour, Jesus Christ