Country Pastor column: More like a county fair than a family reunion
The kingdom of God is like a county fair, where all the people come together to celebrate each other's achievements and enjoy each other's company. Though there is competition, there isn't bitterness. Though there is a marketplace, no one goes without. And in and through the whole thing there is joyful celebration of being a community together.
Sometimes we may get caught up in the idea that the hope we have in Christ is one-on-one, that it's "me and Jesus," or maybe it's "me and Jesus and the family members that I like." But the Bible shows us a radically different vision of the hope we have, and it involves lots of people.
In Revelation we hear of saints from every tribe and people and language gathered before the throne.
Isaiah casts a vision of the goyim—all the nations—streaming toward Jerusalem to live in unity before God.
Paul writes to the Philippians that every knee will bend and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.
It's why I see the County Fair as a little vision of the kingdom. As you walk around, see all the variety of people: people you've known your whole life, people you've never met before, laughing, enjoying themselves, taking time out of their day to dwell together in community.
There are people who share your views and opinions, and people you deeply disagree with; people who look like you, and people who couldn't be more different. People gathered from across the county (and sometimes beyond it) to join in a celebration of what unifies us: that we are all part of one humanity, in this little patch of the earth called Pierce County.
And maybe if we imagine the hope we have in Christ more like a county fair than a family reunion, it might change how we see our calling in Christ. If God is calling us to a future of all people gathered into one in Christ, regardless of how much they are alike or different, how might that change how we treat one another? How might that change how we share the gospel in the world?
Because the kingdom of God is like a county fair: filled with people of every kind, united in the joy of being in community together.