My granddaddy on my father’s side had klan ties. He wasn’t blood related, my dad never knew his real father, and somehow that makes me feel better, as if blood has anything to do with the way we’re blinded by hate and lies and all the separating we do when we make people less than or other.
I’ve come to know that blood is the only thing that sets us free but that’s another story.
Needless to say, I never really knew him. My dad was born into the dirty south in the 1950s. He was threadbare poor, the kind of hard cold empty and wrong sides of the tracks life that had him in and out of juvenile detention and finally making his way on his own by the age of 11, living like a feral child to escape the sadness and abuse that lived in every corner of that desperate life.
One of his earliest memories was his granddaddy leveling a shotgun over his shoulder on the rickety porch and pulling the trigger. A black man, I never knew his name but then neither did my dad, had gotten drunk and made a lunging grab for my great-aunt and so my great granddaddy took care of him. That was the story. Nothing much came of it. He went to jail for a bit, but my dad remembers his mama bringing smokes and playing cards and the time wasn’t really so hard at all. He didn’t get sent away. But you wouldn’t back then, not there.
We have roots but they’ve been dug up and replanted when my dad found Christ, or maybe it’s the other way around, probably more like Christ found my dad, but either way, my mom, a half Korean/half Japanese woman wouldn’t have been an ideal choice and us kids would have been half-breeds.
My dad went back years later, packed us kids and my mom and road-tripped it across the country and someone called us that. Mongrels. His precious babies.
It’s hard for any of us to believe this kind of stuff happens anymore. We watch 12 Years a Slave and we weep sorrow at the roots of our nation. At the chains and oppression and we want to say not anymore. But anyone with any media savvy knows it’s all lies we have to tell ourselves to keep us comfortable in suburbia. To keep us docile and dormant instead of storming the gates of heaven and praying for Christ’s Kingdom come. Instead of stepping outside of our bias and small worldviews and seeing that Christ has come for a broken world, and we don’t recognize him in the black man, in the foreigner, in the immigrant or refugee, in the wealthy day trader, the conservative homeschool mom, or the ranting blogger.
Who is your neighbor?
Because there are still chains, and arms, and so many swords in the world. And some look like machine guns and tear gas and mortar fire with gaping holes where babies once slept. Some look like “futbol” fields and airports, and parks on Easter Sunday gutted by shrapnel, and the whole world groans under the weight of pain and death, even as we celebrate the Resurrection. And some look like privilege and ignorance and brutality and some look like apathy and the slack-jawed yawn of the those not fully alive in Christ. And some look like unholy tongues and the tearing apart of souls. Mongrel.
There are so many dividers and barriers and barricades to truth. They’re always somewhere making war or trying at peace. We’re always somewhere tearing apart the world. Right here with our words, or silence, or bias, or voices so loud we can’t hear Jesus whisper, I’ve come to bring about my Kingdom in you.
There are souls mourning the losses they’ve carried their whole lives, the lies of the less than. And there are souls filled with rage and violence, brimming to the surface, battering down and oppressing. There is anguish and lament and we cannot hear it over the din of our everyday lives.
We are consumed by our own kingdoms.
Things haven’t changed so much for all we believe to have learned and grown.
I walked through this day with heavy shoulders, sagging under the weight of words I’ve carried close and the burden of so many broken things.
And I want Kingdom, the big kind where we’re a body for each other, moving together in spirit, holding tongues of fire and the burning narrative of truth, I want a blazing center, and hands of every color willing to get messy and bloody and blistered with the world’s pain and raise it as an offering to the only one who heals and reconciles and makes new.
I want tongues of nations and a melody of praise and I want the solemn listening ears of patience and mercy and faith to believe all things and hope all things and that kind of love never fails. That kind of love never fails.
I want Kingdom that makes the world look on as if beholding glory. I want Kingdom that makes a fuss and hushes down low and humble to serve and rises up and stands arms linked to defend the shattered ones. Didn’t Jesus come for this?
Let us be about this! If we be anything at all, let us see Your Kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven.
Beautiful thoughts and lovely writing. <3
Thank-you for your inspiring beautifully written post I think I need to try harder to do my share.
Have a blessed day,
Thanks Penny. I do think we do our share by first belonging and knowing how deeply God cares for us and then from that identity, we move into the world and love people in those same ways. I’ll never stop believing that revolutionary love can change the world, indeed it already has.
Linda Stoll says
Ohhh … my.
And that’s your soul, the essence of who you are, running with freedom and joy through the fuzzy dandelion fields … in the midst of it all. Somehow.
Thank you for being here with me. It’s who we all are when we belong to Christ. Freedom and joy are the good gifts God gives, even in the midst of the brokenness. Kingdom Come.
Jeniffer Smith says
Yes. THIS. <3
Thank you for this reminder that we are all “neighbors” in the kingdom of God.
By the way, I think people who are Asian/white mix are some of the most beautiful people in the world!
Neighbors looks a lot different when we see how Jesus talked about it, right? It’s a good reminder for all of us.
Sandy Snavely says
One of the best things I’ve read in a long while. Words that aim straight for the heart! Straight for the problem. And straight for the solution!
It’s a start. God propels us to be loved by God, to love God, and to work towards justice, mercy, and humility as we approach relationships in the world with those God loves. Which is everyone. So yes, we’ve got a holy commission and we’ve been equipped and called to live into that identity of God’s people.
Annie Barnett says
Raw and poignant and right to the heart of things, Alia. My heart is longing for this too.
I know it does. I love the way you see in pictures and art. I love what Kingdom vision looks like in your life, friend.
Connie Doornenbal says
Thank you, thank you for this. It is a huge morning stretch for my mind and heart, and exactly what we all needed to hear.
Thanks for sharing your morning with me. 😉
AMEN! You are blessed with the gift of writing to share the Word. ♡
Thank you for reading, Jeni.
Oh Alia, I praise the Lord for this tender mercy in this post, this gentle reminder of putting down my kingdom and wants and hopes for those of the One who loves us so much. May we all build His kingdom, giving Him and others what He has so generously given us 🙂
I’m preaching to myself too. Our kingdoms creep in so easily. It’s so easy to lose our way and get caught up with the god of status quo or the systems that have always been in place, or to let apathy rule our hearts instead of a passion for the things of God because often those things cost us something too. But you’re so right, God gives generously.
Is it alright if I just say AMEN in 72 point font?
I think 72 point font works. 😉
Amen. You have captured some great and timely concepts here. I love that you aren’t afraid to shy away from topics deemed uncomfortable to discuss. God’s messengers frequently had to step outside their comfort zone to do the Lord’s will. Moses is a prime example! This post blessed me, thank you.
Amen. We need to bring the hard conversations because Jesus didn’t shy away from the hard and messy things. If anything, Jesus was about stepping outside and He endured the reproach for our sakes. The Kingdom of God has always been about love and mercy and hope but it’s never been about staying comfortable. Thank you for sharing here, Tynisha.
Oh, Alia! You see it… You say it all so well. The cry and sometimes scream of my heart as well…”Thy kingdom come” I cry out with you…
“I want Kingdom that makes the world look on as if beholding glory. I
want Kingdom that makes a fuss and hushes down low and humble to serve
and rises up and stands arms linked to defend the shattered ones. Didn’t
Jesus come for this?”
Yes, often the scream of my heart as well. Thanks for reading, Kathi.
Bev @ Walking Well With God says
I’m a little late to the “party” today…life just being…well….life. I dream of a Kingdom too where Christians join dark hands to light hands and welcome in the curious unknowing hands. In reaching over to orphans in Pakistan….I see bridges being built instead of walls. Oh how we need each other. So different perhaps on the outside, but so God-same on the inside. I hear you sister, and believe me, God’s been working on me! Beautiful!
Yup, I get that life being life stuff. I’m glad you made it and there’s always space. Bridges instead of walls. Yes. We need each other. Oftentimes we need people we reject more often than they need us because God’s Kingdom is upside down and backwards and to the world it makes no sense but the heart of God is always been about bridging the rift and bringing us back into relationship with Him and with each other.
LaToya Brown says
Alia, this is a very straightforward approach to doing “kingdom work.” It begins first with us and it gets deep in the corners of our lives. God’s truth shines a light in our dark pasts and illuminates where it still binds us. I’m so glad he doesn’t expose us for shame but to change. He provides Jesus and words from sisters like you to encourage us to bring the kingdom!
No God is not a God of shame but a God of redemption, renewal, and reconciliation and He has called us to be about His Kingdom. Thankful to do it with my sisters here and everywhere. Thanks for reading here with me, LaToya.
Sheri Bennett says
Your vulnerability and honesty in writing, whether a simple in-the-moment facebook post or a blog/article your written rarely fails to touch me my heart. This piece is probably my favorite and the most touching–the kind that goes down deep.
Oh thank you Sheri! I’m humbled and blessed by your encouragement. I’m glad this piece resonated with you. This is the stuff that gets me excited and passionate and sometimes if I get going talking about this, I’ll preach a little and I think in the writing it’s no different. I love it when others feel and believe it too.
Beth Williams says
Thank you for you open honesty! We need to work at bridging the gap between love and hate!!! If we all lived for His kingdom and did His bidding-showing love to everyone my how this world would change!! We should be a shining light to this sin darkened world and then people would see Christ in us!!
Becky L says
I read this again tonight. Good thoughts for the world that needs Jesus. We’re an extension if God’s love. We live it out daily. It’s the little things that matter, starting with kindness. Thanks Alia.
Joy Lenton says
Oh Amen and Amen!! I’m humbled by your honest, giving, loving heart and earnest words. You breathe out beauty and we read captivated. Keep on saying what you say in the way you do. The Kingdom of God needs YOU as a treasured mouthpiece for the Lord. Thank you seems insufficient, but thank you anyway – from the bottom of my heart. Love you, friend. Xx <3