There is much news coverage at the moment of the illegal migrant situation in the camps at Calais and the desperate attempts and extreme lengths to which people will go to gain admittance to the United Kingdom. Let us hope and pray that the governments of the UK and EU countries can find a solution to this seemingly endless humanitarian problem soon. Rather simplistically perhaps, it seems to me that if living conditions in the countries people are so desperate to leave could be brought up to a reasonable standard then the mass exit from such countries wouldn’t be happening. To this end, it is right that we keep supporting the work of Christian Aid and Commitment for Life in all the work they do to help some of the poorest communities on the planet.
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is a geographical and political entity so that people outside it must travel to it in order to enter it – not so with God’s Kingdom. In Luke’s gospel chapter 17, the Pharisees question Jesus about God’s Kingdom and where it was to be found. Jesus answered – “The Kingdom of God is within you.” (Luke 17:21) The Greek word for “within” can also be translated “among.” Jesus is saying that the Kingdom of God is both within us and among us. There are no fences or border controls to keep people out!!
The Kingdom of God is wherever God’s love reigns in the hearts of men and women, boys and girls and in the communities in which they live. The Church on Earth is tasked with being a foretaste of the Kingdom of Heaven and we are called to love each other and those with whom we witness to in the wider community so that God’s grace reigning in our hearts is there for all to see. As we take up all the activities of the church again this autumn may we be conscious that we are working for the building up of the Kingdom of God “within us and among us.”