April/May 2014 - Vol. 73
Part 3: Extending the Kingdom of God
Parable of the Apartment Building
by Carlos Mantica
Following on the previous two chapters which explain the Kingdom of God (Part 1 and 2), we know that the Lord Jesus does not just simply choose disciples so they can wait around to go to heaven some day. The Lord chooses disciples for his own in order to carry out his mission in the world.
For this purpose:
1. Christ inaugurates the Kingdom of God on earth, with his death and resurrection defeats the devil, sin and death, and is constituted by the Father as the LORD of heaven and earth. But this is just the first phase of his work. At present, not everything is under his authority and lordship (even we are not), and God’s full plan is for all things to have Christ as their head one day. St. Paul says in Ephesians 1:9-10:
[God] has made known to us in all wisdom and insight the mystery of his will, according to his purpose which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.2. For the accomplishment of this mission, the Lord uses a strategy—he chooses a people, which is his Church. Since this mission is far above man’s ability, God then sends his own Spirit, God’s omnipotence and wisdom. It is the same Spirit who on the day of creation was moving over the waters; the same Spirit who begot Jesus in Mary’s womb; the same Spirit who made Jesus rise from the dead; the same Spirit who on the day of Pentecost came to empower the Church for the fulfillment of Christ’s mission in the world.
Such is the second phase of God’s plan: giving us his Spirit in order to have a Church with power.
3. The third stage of his plan will take place when Jesus Christ returns in glory and majesty. It is he who will one day make a universal reality out of the things which each one of us is called to gradually accomplish in himself or herself and in the people around us. He will make all things new and will then be all in all. And he shall reign forever and ever, Amen!
Dying or living
for the Kingdom of Heaven?
To which of these two groups do you belong, brother or sister? It really is all up to you. The Lord’s mission is quite clear. That’s what he chose us for; it is for that, and only for that, that he calls us and enables us. It is for that that he incorporates us into the Church through Baptism.
We have no space or time left for more theology. This chapter is designed for those who want to make the fulfillment of this MISSION a reality.
What I’m going to deal with here is concrete things we are supposed to do, and practical suggestions about how to do them. Again, I would like to stress that the important thing is not being able to say, “How nice all this is!”, but to say, “This is true!” And, which is more important, to say, “Yes, this is for me!”
And since I am sure that you have chosen to move over to live in the Kingdom of God, forsaking forever the kingdom of Satan and thus becoming Christ’s helpers for the fulfillment of his mission, what I want to talk to you about is
The Parable of
the Apartment Building
The Kingdom of God is like a residential development that a certain Lord built once. Right at the center of the development he built a beautiful apartment building. When he was done, the Lord saw what he had made, and he found it was good.So much for the parable.
for the world
The solution God offers the world is only one, and it is called the Church. In God’s strategy, this Church will act as a sacrament of salvation. It will be a sample, a sign, a model of what the world can be if God dwells in it and if Christ is its head. But also, even now, it will be the instrument for accomplishing his work of salvation in this world.
That’s why the Church calls the laity to the restoration of the temporal order, to insertion in the old building, in order to make it more just, more human and more bearable, but without forgetting that our true mission is the extension of GOD’S KINGDOM, and not the improvement of men’s kingdoms.
We are supposed to bear witness to what it means to live in the Kingdom, under the Lordship of Jesus Christ; and, as a group, to be the beginning of that Kingdom and the sample of what the whole development will look like one day, when the world as a whole will have Jesus Christ as its Head and Lord.
This article is adapted from the book, From Egghead to Birdhood (hatch or rot as a Christian), (c) copyright 2001 Carlos Mantica.
Carlos Mantica is a founder
of The City of God community (La Cuidad de Dios) in Managua, Nicaragua,
and a founding leader of the Sword
of the Spirit. He served as president of the Sword of the Spirit between
1991 and 1995.
publishing address: Park Royal Business Centre, 9-17 Park Royal Road, Suite 108, London NW10 7LQ, United Kingdom