Many teachers of the Church recognize that the “Kingdom of God,” that Christ spoke of in the Gospels, refers to life now, on earth. We, simple humans that we are, create the Kingdom of God by being human in the way Christ demonstrated we could be. Living in the Kingdom of God is by no means a worry-free utopia where an omnipotent deity runs the show. Christian faith does not demand belief in a sacred dictator and/or adherence to correct rules. When we care about the well-being of others as much as our own, when we seek the sacred in others and in ourselves, when we try to act in, with, and through, love, then we participate in the making of the Kingdom. It’s that simple and that difficult. In trying to live lovingly, we recognize that we can embrace ourselves and our pain, as well as others and their pain, with kindness and patience. This Kingdom is revolutionary. It is the one we approach anew every year during Advent, as we deepen our understanding of God’s incarnation.
One lesson of the Kingdom, familiar to most, is that when we are hurting the most for any reason, one of the ways to feel better is to do something nice for another. . . This Friday, just as our community mourns the loss of a dear parishioner, in Ukraine, our girls in the orphanage received our St Nicholas tidings and gifts: sorrow and joy. We can endure and embrace life and death fully only when we share ourselves—generously. Love makes us at once most strong and most vulnerable; it makes us most divinely human.