Some of you may have noticed that a couple of months ago, I added a tagline to the title of this blog: 'looking for a better way and a better world'. It is meant to reflect what I want the main focus of this blog to be, and what I think is absolutely central to the message of the gospel. The gospel is not just about getting our sins forgiven and a reservation for heaven. It is about God restoring this world to how he originally intended it to be by bringing it all under the good rule of his Son, Jesus. In other words, it is the gospel of the kingdom (Matt.24:14). This is the better world that God is re-creating, that will come in its fullness when Jesus returns to make all things new, but that has already broken in on our world through the life, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus. As citizens of this heavenly kingdom, born from above, we cannot be satisfied with this present world as it is, with its ways and wisdom, it culture and power structures. We are looking and longing for the continual and ultimate coming of God's better world, his kingdom.
Now I have believed this for many years (though God is continually filling out my understanding of it). But there was something that I did not really grasp until relatively recently. It is that this kingdom is totally, radically, profoundly different from the kingdoms of this world. It is completely counter-cultural. And this is because at its heart is a totally different way of life. It is a way of life characterised by serving others, by loving enemies, forgiving those who hurt us, laying our lives down for others, giving up the claim for our rights or our comforts, identifying with 'the least of these', winning not through might but through meekness, overcoming through radical love. It is the way of selfless, serving, sacrificial love. It is the way of the cross. So to look for the kingdom of God, the better world, is to look for a way of living that is like this. It is to look for the better way of the Cross.
What I want the next few posts, and really the whole blog, to be about is exploring what this Cross-centred Kingdom means and what it looks like in our everyday life, in the church community and in our engagement with the world.