Mark 1:15 says “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.” Do you see it there before you? It takes eyes of faith to see the kingdom of God that is at hand. You’ve heard “seeing is believing.” It’s practically the Apostle Thomas’ motto. But this is backwards. To believe is to see: believing is seeing. Do you see the kingdom there before you in gestures of kindness, love, reconciliation and healing? Do you see it in generous acts? Do you see it when the people of God embrace, care for and offer their gifts to the church and the world? Do you feel it in your heart when the Spirit prompts you to speak and act in God’s name? Do you feel it in your very bones when you follow through on the promptings of the Spirit?
So what do I see when I look and listen to our community at worship? For every person in the pew, at the ambo, at the altar, in the music area and in the server’s chairs I see a story of faith, of struggle, of moments of despair, of hope all brought to this moment and offered up. I see the Gospel story of our salvation being written and lived out right there before me.
As a music minister I must add to “believing is seeing” that “faith comes through hearing” (Romans 10:17). The kingdom is also something you can hear with ears of faith. In the sound of the people of God in worship I hear the body of Christ, the Triune God united with God’s people as one and many.
The thing I didn’t include here is that seeing is an act of imagination. I didn’t include it because imagination in our age is deprecated as a mode of knowing – which is something I go to great lengths to ameliorate in my book A Jungian Approach to Engaging Our Creative Nature. “The kingdom of God is at hand” is an invitation to a creative act of faith – an act of imagination by which we see the reality of the kingdom before us and are inspired to further real-ize or incarnate it into the world. This make it a generative proclamation that holds the living seeds of the reality it proclaims.