“The church exists to set up in the world a new sign which is radically dissimilar to the world’s own manner and which contradicts it in a way that is full of promise.”
It’s funny (or at least I find it funny) that the Kingdom of God is, at times, so backwards. Think about it:
The Saviour of the World born in a manger. If the Duke and Duchess and Cambridge have a child, I can guarantee they won’t nip off to the nearest stables to make sure the heir to the throne is born there. But in God’s backward Kingdom, Jesus was born in a stable.
The Creator of the Earth knows each one of us by name, and longs to be in close relationship with us. Steve Jobs pioneered some of the greatest technological advances of our time. But when he was alive, he didn’t know my name. He probably didn’t want to either. And I would not have been able to simply call out to him, and have him answer me, even on an iPhone. But in God’s backward Kingdom, He knows us despite his awesome size – indeed, because of his awesome size – and loves nothing more than when we call out to Him.
In God’s eyes, when we are weak we are strong. The world urges us – dares us almost – to do things by our own strength, to rely on our capabilities to achieve milestones by which we are judged. Power, money, success, position – the world tells us that if we don’t achieve these, we are nothing. But in God’s Kingdom, the first will be last and the last will be first. Those who rely on their own strength will not reach their full potential, whilst those who acknowledge they need God’s strength will flourish.
It’s a pretty backwards way of looking at things. And as people who live in God’s light and love, the challenge is how we live backwards(ly). How do we reflect God’s backwards love in our worlds? There’s no formulaic answer to this question, as is so often the case with God. Each individual has their own ways and opportunities to live backwards(ly). Sometimes it’s the big things, the big decisions. And sometimes it’s the little things, the little decisions.
But one thing is for sure: a life lived backwards(ly) is a beautiful thing.
*Backwards(ly) clearly isn’t a word.