Repent for the kingdom of Heaven is at hand. WHOA! Does that conjure up old stories? “You better be good, you better not shout, you better not cry, I’m telling you why…..?” And it’s not good.
Let’s take a moment and look at a deeper meaning for ‘repent the kingdom of heaven is at hand’. To repent is to turn. We turn from judgment to acceptance. We turn from anxiety and worry to peace. We turn from not enough to a consciousness of abundance and joy. We turn, turn, turn and with each turning awaken more and more to a lasting awareness of our connection with the Divine.
In ancient days, the Israelites believed that God was not only going to liberate them from the tyranny of being ruled by others, but they were going to be the rulers. This new kingdom would be called the Kingdom of Heaven. Oh, and only those who were good enough would be the rulers, and they would not only rule the Israelite people, but also, the Gentile nations. So begins the race consciousness of: ‘be good and someday you’ll be rewarded… in heaven’. Only heaven became this mystical place that you go when you die. Many scholars today believe that Jesus never said, “Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Me, I’m not so sure.
What did Jesus say? In the Gospel of Thomas, with parallels in the Gospels of Luke & Mary and Dialogue of the Savior: “The kingdom of God is within you and all around you, yet you do not see it.” And again in the Gospel of Luke with parallels in the Gospels of Thomas and Mary: “The Kingdom is not coming in any way that you can observe. The Kingdom of God is already here — within you.” So what is this kingdom of God that is already within you? In the Revealing Word, a metaphysical dictionary published by UNITY, it says,
“Kingdom of God: The Christ consciousness, kingdom of heaven.
Kingdom of Heaven: The kingdom of heaven is the realm of divine ideas, producing their expression, perfect harmony. It is within man.”
WOW! Within each and everyone of us is the Kingdom of Heaven, without exception. It is our responsibility to turn our thoughts toward the kingdom. One way to do this is by Practicing the Presence. Practicing the Presence is a meditation technique where you enter into an awareness that God is everywhere present all of the time. God is present in this time and space. This practice opens us to a higher realm of awareness and connection with that which we know is True. It opens us to a deeper knowing and expression of love and compassion.
As I have meditated on this idea, I believe the author of the Gospel of Matthew was saying. Turn around and look within. For it is within where you will find the Kingdom of Heaven. It is this Kingdom that awakens and empowers the expression of our True Nature: Love.
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