Have you noticed the inordinate amount of ant hills that seem to have popped up over the past few days? I first noticed it along certain portions of Hwy 411 in front of the church, but then noticed that the same thing was happening in other places as well. And most of them aren't just tiny little spots of dirt ... rather they're enormous hills filled with bazillions of ants.
So why all of a sudden did they appear? Did a baby boom of sorts occur in the ant world? Were they on strike until November? Is it a sign of the end times? (I'm sure there are some Christians somewhere who can tie it in to that) Surely a brief web search would provide an answer and indeed it did. Often after a good rain ant mounds pop up. The lack of rain and heat forces them deeper underground to find water and cooler temperatures, but once the rain comes and the ground is saturated they will vigorously start their mound building activities again. So it's not that the ants weren't previously there ... rather we just didn't see them because they lived in their invisible underground kingdom. The rain has now forced them to make their invisible kingdom visible.
In many ways the Kingdom of God is an invisible kingdom. It's a realm where Jesus rules our hearts as King, but of course we can't see Jesus or our hearts. Thus, the only way to make this kingdom visible is through acts of love, grace, mercy, justice, forgiveness, compassion, service, generosity, joy, sacrifice, kindness, peace, etc. Making God's kingdom visible was what Israel rejected when it demanded a king so it "may be like all the nations" (1 Sam 8:20). It's what the church also rejects when we get consumed with worldly techniques, principles, and concepts even though we try to cloak them in spiritual dress. We are God's unique people and are called to live like it.
Making God's Kingdom visible is what we're to do every day ... by the way we approach our work, by the way we manage our school work, by the way we relate to our neighbor, by the way we behave at the ballpark, by the way we live as a family, by the way we participate in the church, and by the conversations we have in all these places. The world sees the Kingdom of God through us, through our words and actions, through how we manage our time and money, through our demeanor in all of life's ups and downs. The Kingdom becomes visible as Christians love one another, sacrificially serve their neighbor, endure suffering, care for the weak and poor, welcome the stranger, forgive their enemies, live in community together as the church, and proclaim the good news to all the world!
And just like the ant kingdom, it takes a good rain to make God's Kingdom visible. As the "living water" of Jesus Christ saturates our hearts through the work of God's Holy Spirit being poured out on us, this Kingdom flows out in these very visible and tangible ways. So the call is NOT for us to "go and try to be a better Christian" but rather "soak yourself in the Gospel." Today, meditate again on the person and work of Jesus Christ. The Kingdom will become more visible as a result!