Do not be afraid. God has seen to it that you be gifted with the kindom.
When asked what my favorite Bible passage is, I typically turn to Luke 12.32. It reads: “Do not live in fear, little flock, it is God’s good pleasure to give you the kindom.”
There is a lot to unpack there, and I don’t have enough time to do it all here. I’ll focus on just two things: God’s pleasure and God’s kindom.
When reading through scripture, one can attach many feelings to God from the descriptions that are used by the authors. The ones that most easily and most often come to mind suggest God can be angry, disappointed, and jealous on one side; loving, compassionate, and forgiving on the other.
How often do we hear about God’s pleasure? How easy is it for us to attribute laughter and delight and joy to God? Maybe I am only describing my own experiences, but I think it is fairly common for us to find it a challenge to attribute such emotions to the sacred.
I wonder why.
This passage doesn’t say God is joyful or pleased, it simply names as the motive for God’s gift to the fact that it brings God pleasure.
We all know that joy. It is the joy of watching someone react when you have spent time to find the perfect gift for them – one you know will surprise them, will bring them joy, that they will treasure, and the will make their life experience more pleasurable. I find it refreshing to believe that this gift from God is given because God needs and wants that satisfaction – the true joy the giver experiences in offering the gift that overwhelms.
And so, now, what of that gift? It is the kindom of God. That realm Jesus came not only to describe, but to assure us was not something in the heavens but which we could have right here on Earth. It is the realm within which God’s shalom is experienced. It is conditioned by love of neighbor, love of God, love of creation, love of self. It renders the use of weapons obsolete and unnecessary, prompting us all to beat our swords into plowshares and our spears into pruning hooks. We no longer learn the ways of war and each will sit under their own vine and fig. That is a glimpse of life in the kindom of God.
It is God’s pleasure to give that to us. It could well be our pleasure to receive it if we could find it in our hearts.
As disciples of Jesus, the one we call the way, we are invited to walk the pathways of love and peace he showed to us. We have this within us. It has been offered – a gift beyond imagination.
The realization of this whole thing, of the joy God experiences in the generosity of the gift of the kindom in which love and peace reign, that realization casts out fear.
And so, little flock (don’t you love that appellation – it is just so endearing), do not live in fear.
Though mountains may tumble, though the foundations of the Earth may shake; though seas roar and skies fall; though bones ache and bodies decay; though pandemics rage and race hate continues unabated: do not fear. Fight for justice, yes. Grieve deep loss, yes. Cry over the weight of it all and scream out your anger, rage, and fury at the injustice of it all. Yes!
But do not be afraid. God has seen to it that you be gifted with the kindom.
Little flock, receive God’s gift. Know God’s love. Doubt not God’s abiding kindom in which you will know the love of your creator. And walk every day in the certain knowledge that nothing can separate you from that love on this, your journey Into the Mystic.