The phrase" We are the kingdom of God" has been battering around in my head this Fall as I've been exploring another phrase, "how then, do we live"...in context to really nothing, and everything. These two phrases stump me every time I find myself wondering about how all the stuff in my head can rally and truly translate to my body. My eight year old grandson Lucas gave me a clue.
"You know I don't believe in God don't you Gamma?" Silence. "I said, you know that I don't believe in God, don't you, "he repeats, this time with steady words and direct gaze. Making sure he had my attention, he hopped over a medium sized rock and dodged the blackberry tendrils that grabbed for his shirt, he continued on. "I know for sure there are aliens...other life in space y'know, and you and I both know the bible doesn't talk about aliens being real or anything like that...doesn't even mention beings from outer space. So, (coming to an illogical conclusion I suspect) God can't be real cause aliens are."
Tromping down the middle of the creek bed has always been a favorite adventure for us, Lukie and I, and hunting an obsidian arrowhead presented itself as an opportunity for our first real, topic chosen by him, theological discussion on the existence of God.
My questions have been gnarly this Fall season. Does my theology really and truly translate into my body? And since we're nearing the end of our liturgical season and are coming up on the week right before Advent when we celebrate 'the kingdom come', or 'the kingdom present', I'm aware I've been stumped by the phrase 'We are the kingdom of God' and its rejoiner, 'if so, how then do we live'. As is often the case when I'm wondering like this, the answer comes in real life. In this instance my eight year old grandson Lucas gave me a clue.
"They've been documented you know," he goes on. "There's a hole in area 51, you know that place in Nevada where a flying saucer landed, and there are underground caves and stuff like that where've they've been hiding the space creatures." He turns. "This is for reals Gamma, God can't be real if aliens are."
"Well," I muse, tripping on an old pooh stick and catching my fall so that I don't catapult into the baptismal pool dug for cousin Isabelle's baptism three years earlier, "Are raccoons and reindeer and moose and grizzlies and butterflies mentioned in the bible? What do you think about those? Aren't they sorta in the same category as the aliens. Do you suppose God just plain forgot to recommend them to us? Or perhaps the folks writing down the words in the bible didn't get it quite right? Or perhaps the aliens and the butterflies are all hanging out together chiding us and pointing fingers or wings or antennae in ridicule of the ones who wrote all that stuff down? Do you wonder if God intentionally forgot those as well? Or, you might be right, if all the stuff in the world isn't mentioned then could it be that none of the bible can be believed? Do you think it really matters that some real issues about living on this planet just aren't mentioned there in our Holy Book?"
He stopped beyond the pool and turned back. "No," he considers finally, "the bible has to be true if God is. The only way to see this is that the bible isn't true."
I'm through the pool and close to him now. "Well, then, how does one know about God," I ask.
He turns now, with that sly smile and twinkling eyes, the sunlight glancing off of his sunburst hair. He knows he has me because he comes right in with it."I know you." He grins. I don't want to let him off the hook quite that easily, but my tears give me away as I galumph over the rocks between us, and hold his head to my chest. "And I know you."