the kingdom of heaven
Poet George Oppen wrote in his journals that “the search for truth is a passion, not a necessity.” He’s right. You can go through your life with your eyes completely open and never really see anything clearly. And one needs only to look around at the hollowness of the cultures around us, both secular and Christian, to know this can be true. Christianity can be made simple, boiled down to practices and platitudes, marketed and packaged for sale, and fall flat with some sentimental longing for some other plane of living rather than the reality in which God has asked us to exist, the reality that he loves so dearly. But the Kingdom of Heaven is nothing simplistic: things like the Incarnation and Resurrection can never be made easy. That’s mystery, and searching mystery is how we grow and bring forth that exquisite empire inside.
That’s the funny thing about kingdoms: they never stay hidden for long.
We put them into the world or they are brought out in our interactions. Whether it’s a kingdom of your own making, or a kingdom that already occurred before you we’re awakened to its wonderful existence—what’s in darkness is brought to light. Once you begin to explore the Kingdom of Heaven within through focused daily prayer, meditation, creating, or journaling, a quiet dominion emerges in you like a hamlet tucked away in a foggy mountainside: there was life there all along.
Great, huh? Just one catch—you have to work a little. Not a graceless kind of guilty requirement that many have come to join with Christian practice, but a slow and attentive way of being and moving forward—sitting quietly instead of acting; listening instead of insisting in prayer. It’s a narrow way, and it isn’t easy—but that was the promise, right?
Is it possible that this will be the day when you begin mapping out the roads and avenues of your kingdom, where you make a decision to take a path of self-discovery that will lead to a throne with that holds a peace you’ve heard so much about? How will you invite the doors of the Kingdom of Heaven within you to open today and greet the world?
Dave Harrity is author of “Making Manifest: Everyday Incarnation” available from Seedbed later this year. His poems and other writings have appeared in journals and periodicals stateside and abroad. As Director of Antler, he travels far and wide conducting workshops on faith, imagination, worship, and creative writing. He’d love to come visit your church, seminary, college, or other religious community. Email him here.