We have been taught to expect the Kingdom of Heaven only within Heavenly places. The photo above is from one of those places. Just outside Paris, France is an incredibly spiritual place, the cathedral Charte. I believe it is impossible to walk into that place without feeling the Kingdom of Heaven.
Every time I walk into a new church facility, I take notice of the absence or presence of the Kingdom of Heaven. Absence occurs when the Father is not invited to reign supreme over the sacred space. It is the most important invitation to extend for any church leader, “Father, come abide within your people here!”
The Kingdom of Heaven is present anytime we give up access to our lives to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Once we do that, the Kingdom of Heaven moves us. Our constant prayer should be less of us and more of Him.
This presence of the Kingdom of Heaven, however, is not limited to just sacred spaces—it is omnipresent.
Over my lifetime, I have experienced, and continue to experience, the Kingdom of Heaven outside “sacred spaces.” The Kingdom of Heaven is closer than we have believed.
Recently I was in a shopping mall buying shoes. Now, you wouldn’t expect the Kingdom of Heaven to be hanging around inside a Sketchers store; but the Kingdom of Heaven is not limited to our expectations. There was a Hispanic mother in front of me at the checkout line who was buying bundles of shoes for her three children in tow behind her. You could tell by how well-behaved the children were that she was a wonderful mother. The Kingdom of Heaven was near.
I wanted to engage her in conversation but just didn’t get the chance—oh well, maybe next time. I walked out of the store into the mall only to find the mother and her three kids now in conversation with their father sitting on a bench. Opportunity knocked. I walked up to the family and told the mother what I was feeling while watching her inside the store—told her how much the Father was pleased with how she carried herself and what an example of grace she was to her family. Her husband caught on and chimed in to express his affirmation for his bride and mother of his children.
When she began to weep, a bubble of the Kingdom of Heaven ignited and expanded, surrounding all six of us. We laughed, cried, and hugged one another—and for a moment in time, a White man and a Hispanic group of six became a family. In the Kingdom of Heaven, family is not confined to ethnicity.
As I walked to my car, I reflected on how the Kingdom of Heaven was close. For a brief moment, we entered a special, spiritual place; similar to being inside the cathedral at Charte—and very much like my time in Heaven.
“Thy Kingdom come Thy will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven.”
The Kingdom of Heaven is not limited to sacred spaces, unless you consider shopping malls Holy—maybe we should.
Steve digs deeper into the emotional facet of the Kingdom of Heaven with a young screenwriter who experienced a Bubble of the Kingdom of Heaven for the first time.