Our greatest desire is, or ought to be, to see the kingdom of God. We have seen the kingdom of this world, and while it can be glitzy and entertaining and exciting, it is also full of darkness, disease and death. We Christians are surely yearning to see the kingdom of God—to live there with Christ and with one another in paradise. That’s how we normally think of the “kingdom of God”—heaven.
This brings up two points: First, the kingdom of God is not just a future kingdom—“pie in the sky in the sweet by and by”—but a real and present kingdom inaugurated by Jesus Christ Himself, here on earth. Certainly, earth is not heaven, thank God, but the kingdom of God is already present in the here and now. But how can we see it? How can we experience the kingdom of God already inaugurated, if not yet fully realized?
This is the second point: Jesus Himself says one may only “see” the kingdom of God if one is born anew—born again—born from above. Jesus is referring here to being baptized, as He indicates one is born anew by water and the Spirit. This is our initiation into the kingdom of God, as we are joined to Christ and His death and resurrection by baptism into His life. We are initiated, in Baptism, into the Holy Communion—both the community and the fellowship that gathers at the altar each week to receive the Lord’s Body and Blood. And there we see the kingdom of God as the family of God kneels there at the rail—young and old, rich and poor, persons of all colors, shapes and sizes. Truly, the baptized people of God are the kingdom of God on earth, with Jesus Christ at the head of the Church. It is not a utopian community—surely not paradise on earth—but the community of redeemed, forgiven, renewed children of God who await, together, the coming of Christ in power and glory to bring the kingdom of God to fulfillment.
Lord our God, as we have been born anew by water and the Spirit, give us eyes of faith to see your kingdom every day; through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Taken from Wendel, David, From Ashes to Easter, Ashes Lenten Devotional Booklet, North American Lutheran Church.