I spend Tuesdays with our Tuesday-at-Bloom folks – and they are an interesting group; they come from a variety of contexts and bring a whole set of interests and involvements into the room – to say nothing of different abilities and capacities.
And there are times when it is hard work and I get irritated – usually with the technology when I can’t get it to do what I want.
But there’s more going on that that.
There are so many kingdom moments; the moment when somebody who has been spending all her time telling me how horrid everything is, and how much she is fed up with the people around her takes time out form that to invite the newcomer who doesn’t know anybody to come and play dominoes with us – and then explains to him how to do it….; the moment when I listen into the people playing scrabble and hear them competing madly to win – and looking at each other’s tiles in order to help each other get the highest score possible; the moment when somebody comes to tell me that they are reserving a seat for one of our frailest members – “so that she doesn’t have to walk all the way across the room”; the person who hands over the sleeping bags and pillows she has just rescued from a neighbour who was planning to put them in the bin, laundered and brought in with the comment – you can use them, and it avoid landfill….; the comment from one person about the energy another had put into the kitchen work, and how that was valued….; the person who is beginning to suffer with dementia, but who take great pains to tell me how much she enjoyed the mixture of people and activities that happen – and all of those were this week.
When I was first studying theology, there was an essay title, and then a debate in class; "what does Jesus mean by the Kingdom of God. And great and varied were the answers; it is heaven; it is the coming of justice and peace; it is what will be inaugurated when evil is defeated….you can imagine".
The longer I do Tuesday lunch, the more I come to the conclusion that the Kingdom happens moment by moment, and it is a banquet, and we share it when we meet for lunch on a Tuesday – when people are valued, have fun, care for one another , support one another, step back to allow another in, just are. And it looks small, and it looks trivial – it’s just another lunch club and there are however many of those, and do we need any more.
Well, I don’t know the answer to that, but I do know that it’s not small and its not trivial – very little is. The Kingdom is among and within you says Jesus – in those moments of life in its fullness. And sometimes that is changing the world and challenging unjust structure, and standing against violence and for peace and all the stuff that really really matters. And sometimes it is helping somebody get a good scrabble score and inviting a newcomer to sit down and telling stories and listening to them.
The Kingdom is not out there; it is here and now and among and within us, as we open ourselves to meet it.