In my senior year, one of our English projects was to write a sermonette. These sermons, about 2-3 pages, were spoken in class then collected into a devotional book. As getting ideas for blogging constantly is difficult, I decided to go through this devotional and write a post about some of the ideas that come up in each of them, with some of my input added.
Michael wrestles with this term “The Kingdom of Heaven”. It does not appear in the Old Testament, but suddenly appears all over the place in the New Testament. He claims that it was developed around the idea of the Messiah during the Roman and Greek invasions (I have no knowledge of the origin of the term or its connection). He notes that Jesus states that the Kingdom of Heaven is here in the present. Yet, Paul writes about how we will inherit the Kingdom of God, a future statement. Either the Kingdom came and left or it is still here, but these both seem wrong because the former would discredit the Spirit and the Church and the later corruption in the world. Rather, the solution is a now but not yet theology. It’s a sort of “it came but isn’t complete yet” theology (which is a good theology with basis to it). The Kingdom is with us now, and it is still to come.
Michael builds on this point, and then brings in virtue, one of my hot buttons. He says:
Virtue is another part of the Kingdom of Heaven. It has been the teaching of the church for some time that the only true happiness that can be found anywhere, in this world or the next is in the virtuous life. Virtue is part of the Kingdom. Though none of the virtues are the Kingdom, but they are both part and a symptom of the Kingdom.
Virtue leads to happiness. This has been taught since before the church was established on earth. Philosophers long sought after the greatest end, which to them was happiness. To achieve this, one has to be virtuous. Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, and early thinkers all sought after this. I value virtues, and they come from Christ, but it is in Christ that we have our joy and true felicity. Maybe I should write a post on felicity some time.
He closes with an application to us. We should display how great the Kingdom is, even the little bit of it that is in us. This is hard to do, because it’s not just about doing virtuous things, it’s about a supernatural virtue. To do virtuous acts is one thing, to truly be virtuous is another. A man can appear virtuous, but that doesn’t mean he is. Somehow we have to show our special God powered virtue, but it is so hard because we as the Church fight so much amongst ourselves, both in the past, present, and probably future. So we must find a way to live our lives in such a way that the Kingdom of Heaven is seen, but how?