Kingdom or kin-dom?
Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor; and he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” Jesus said to him, “Away with you, Satan! for it is written, ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve only him.’” — Matthew 4:8–10
I met Krystle while freelancing for a small-town newspaper. She was young and talented — and the editor of the paper. I was impressed. So, when the need for a freelance editor arose for a project at the national church, I recommended Krystle. She was hesitant as she didn’t know “insider church language.” I assured her that I would answer any questions.
Krystle did have one question about a word she had never heard of before: kin-dom. “Did the writer mean ‘kingdom’?” she asked. When I explained that kin-dom reflected better the mission of the Church, moving away from top-down power and control, which the word “kingdom” evokes, to a more level playing field where there is a kinship — where the silenced have a voice and the overlooked are recognized — she enthusiastically said, “That’s awesome!”
Krystle isn’t much for religion. She jokes that she can’t believe she is friends with me — a pastor. She, like many, have been hurt by worldly kingdoms that have often been protected and perpetuated by organized religion. Yet we in the Church still find ourselves tempted by the power such kingdoms offer. We always seem to be wrestling with our desirous idols.
Lent begins with Jesus being tempted in the wilderness where the promise of earthly kingdoms is dangled in front of him. Jesus, though, is steadfast and resists. We too, need to be steadfast and resist, emerging from our wilderness temptations ready to commit to building more Matthew 25 kin-doms.
“Is ‘kin-dom’ the correct word?” Krystle asked. “It is,” I said. And with that, a child of God, who never thought she was welcomed into the fold, began seeing the door to the kin-dom open to her.
Loving God, temptations are all around us. The world tells us that those who have the power, those who have the wealth and those who have the prestige are the ones who have it all. But that is not the way of your kingdom. Yours is a kin-dom, where all are welcomed, valued and loved. Help us to become kin-dom builders. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.
Jesus told his friends that when they did something to help another in need, they were serving him. As you go about your day, think about the decisions you make and the actions you take. Now ask yourself: Is my life reflecting a worldly kingdom or a Matthew 25 kin-dom?