“Many are the strange chances of the world, and help oft shall come from the hands of the weak when the Wise falter” — Gandalf the Grey
If you have been beaten down, plagued by failure, beset with weakness, count yourself among the ordinary – you too are human. If you long for a better world where things are right, but mourn as you see how truly far off that reality seems; if you feel like you have no power to cure the great evils of our time, you are among the ordinary – you too are human, and all of Heaven’s blessings are actually yours. If this sounds familiar it is because it merely echoes what Jesus taught nearly two thousand years ago. Jesus was not presenting ethereal platitudes that were meant to be dislocated from our lived experience, rather he spoke these words to us as a bedrock reality of how his Kingdom appears on earth – in the lives of ordinary people who the world, as a general rule, overlooks.
The world is indeed a troubling place right now, and the over the horizon hovers a haze of dark uncertainty. In times like these there is a great temptation to gaze into that menacing mist and try to figure out what is going to happen in the future order to know what to do in the present. There are many well known leaders who are making a lot of waves over their predictions, and whether they are right or wrong, these are mostly distractions that are actually feeding into the polarities that are ripping society apart. The truth about the key to understanding the future and the present is far simpler than this, and it doesn’t need a safecracker to unlock, not for those who deep down inside, know that a better world is possible because it has come and will come in Christ. The great movement of history into God’s Kingdom is not accomplished, from Heaven’s perspective, through the agency of political, economic, social, or cultural power, it comes about instead in and through the lives of ordinary people who stake out a new way of existing in the world because they have been gripped by a greater reality.
This is why such maddening times call for the response of ordinary people who have awoken to the possibility of a better and more enduring way. The arrival of the Kingdom, where God’s will is done on Earth as it is in Heaven, is the great hope that breaks into our broken history and will heal it of its innumerable wounds. This Kingdom is coming even now, as it did first in the ordinary life of a Nazorean carpenter, and will be realized here in the present through the ordinary lives of those who hear his call and follow him. This Kingdom is realized in every cup of cold water given to a thirsty child, every coat cast over shivering shoulders, every kind deed done for the needy and forsaken in this world. These are the treasures that are sure to endure. The great issues of the day that the world wars over, are from God’s perspective a passing reality that is giving way to a greater revelation of a New World where ordinary people have come into harmony with Heaven and have become active agents in bringing it down to Earth.
Perhaps we are in that final moment of history that Jesus describes, where on account of the increase of lawlessness the love of many will grow cold. If this is the case, the answer to lawlessness isn’t more law, it isn’t expressed in hysteria over who holds institutional power; rather the answer is love. The Kingdom is coming, that is our great hope, and with it comes a great responsibility – to live as if it is a reality. This comes now, as it always has, by loving God and loving our neighbors and now is the time for ordinary people to take hold of this enduring truth and learn to live into it. It is through you, an ordinary human, that the extraordinary possibilities of Heaven are meant to be realized on Earth – all it takes is a little faith and a willingness to follow the One who taught us the way. If you ever feel lost and disoriented in the maddening events of a mad world and can’t see a path forward, look to the One who loves you and learn to love like he does and you will work wonders in the due course of ordinary life.