We talk about the world of cricket, of commerce, of science or the theatre; the art world, a child’s world, the modern world, and so on. What worlds do you belong to? It is possible to belong to several worlds at the same time, although when in any one world it tends to take all of our attention, time and energy. Each world has its own field of interest, its history and tradition, its own language and scale of values. So, we live our life shifting from one world to another: from school or work to home; from family to strangers; from the informality of friendship groups to officialdom – that sort of thing. We can usually make the necessary adjustments quite easily, but sometimes it is not easy. Jesus came announcing that there is a fundamental world that, irrespective of what other worlds we live in, we should not neglect. He called it the kingdom of heaven or kingdom of God. This world impinges on the way we participate in the other worlds. Sometimes it puts us in the middle of a clash between Christ’s world and another world, but it makes claim to be our primary world. It is the world where animals and trees, oceans and continents, planets and galaxies, all exist as part of one great whole centred on the Creator. It is God’s world, and Jesus presented it as the most valuable and important world of all. To belong to Christ’s world with its Scriptures and community, its emphasis on God’s love being responded to with love to both God and neighbour, its emphasis on peace, justice, compassion, holiness and reverence, grace and forgiveness, is to belong to the greatest of all possible worlds, and even the greatest person who lives outside of it is not as great as the least who lives within it. This comes out in the words of Jesus spoken about John the Baptist, “The least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.”
- What worlds do you belong to?
- What difficulties have you encountered in switching from one world to another?
- How does Christ’s world impinge on other worlds that you live in?
- Each world has its own scale of values. How does the idea of greatness differ in Christ’s world from the idea of greatness in other worlds?