Romans 8:18-21 NRSV “I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory about to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God; for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and will obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.”
We often read this passage based on our hope for a better future – either in this life or the next. That is a comforting enough thought. But, reassuring as a future relief from suffering may be, is this the mark for which Christ tells us to strive? Are we but to hope for a better future? Or, are we as Christians called to usher in a better present, a present in which Christ has come, through the hearts, hands and mouths of God’s children?
Christ answers in Luke 17:20-37. We’re told we won’t know a future arrival time for the Kingdom, and we won’t see it coming here or there. In other words, we’re not to wait for some future arrival of the Kingdom, like an overdue ship filled with all the goodies we desire. Why not? Because it’s already arrived. And where is it? Christ tells us “the kingdom of God is within you.”
With Christ’s words in mind we read a different message from Paul. Creation waits with eager longing for our revelation – for us to reveal (first to ourselves) the Kingdom within. And when we have that revelation, when we free the Spirit from our bondage of fear, anxiety, and greed, we obtain the freedom of our own glory – a glory that surpasses any present suffering, any past wrong, and any future worries.
Lord, help us to remain present with you, to bear no fear for the future and to rejoice in the glory of your Kingdom within us. Help us to reveal your presence to ourselves, and thence to all your creation. Amen.