Quinn G. Caldwell
In those days John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness of Judea, proclaiming, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near." This is the one of whom the prophet Isaiah spoke when he said, "The voice of one crying out in the wilderness: 'Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.'" - Matthew 3:1-3
What if John was laughing when he said, "the kingdom of heaven has come near"? What if what he meant by that wasn't that the end of time, with fire and judgment and your ultimate doom, was at hand?
What if what he meant was that God's realm, God's biggest dream, God's fondest hope for us and all that we might become was drawing so close that it was about to break through into this time and place? Would it sound different to you? Would you live differently because of it? Would you understand why the people went to the desert to be dunked underwater by a wild man?
What if "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near" isn't so much a threat as an invitation worth accepting?
Come, God, come. Break into our world. Transform it. Transform me, that I might be the way of the Lord, and that through my life, your creation might come a step closer to the completion you dream of for it and for me. Amen.
Quinn G. Caldwell is Pastor and Teacher at Plymouth Congregational Church, UCC, in Syracuse, New York, and co-editor, with Curtis J. Preston, of the Unofficial Handbook of the United Church of Christ, published by The Pilgrim Press.