Coming Reign of God
Dr. J. Kameron Carter, Associate Professor of Theology and Black Church Studies
Ezekiel 47:6-12; Psalm 147; Revelation 22:1-5, 20-21; Mark 13:32-37
Quotes from the Last 24 Hours
“The Kingdom of God ripped from the context of prayer and discipleship becomes a space of control and domination, and shuts down identity.” - Dr. Carter during plenary
“Will you live into the story of being a child of God or into distorted stories - the ones that crush you?” - Dr. Carter during plenary
Reflections on the Lecture
Dr. Carter’s lecture aimed to demystify the subject of “The Reign of God” by putting it into the contexts of the Lord’s Prayer and current examples of how we understand Christian identity. We who pray “Thy Kingdom come” are revolting against the worldly powers that are in opposition to Jesus Christ, and asking that God’s Kingdom become a powerful reality among us. Dr. Carter challenged listeners to think about the reign of God as inextricably bound to a life of prayer and discipleship. He asserted that removing it from these contexts only results in a perversion and misapplication of the reign of God in which people attempt to become masters of their own and others’ destinies. Unless those who follow Christ realize that being children of God changes their identities, then we will allow the powerful pressures of this world to conform us. When our identities are determined by societal standards of power, beauty, success and economics, then we bear witness to the corrupted kingdom of worldly powers and not to God’s Kingdom. Dr. Carter showed a video clip from "The Matrix" in which Neo chooses to accept the truth, requiring him to sever allegiances with the old world and its systems in order to embrace the new. In watching the clip, we realized how the movie illustrates the power and responsibilities that come with a commitment like Christian baptism.
The liveliness and familiarity of morning prayer, the crowded bookstore, the hubbub of packing and other logistical duties, and our general conversation signal the end is near. Today is a joyful day with tearful sharing and heartfelt reflection. Our DYA director, the Rev. Jeff Conklin-Miller, is the preacher for evening worship. Through proclaiming the “Coming Reign of God,” Jeff will call attention to the work that God has been doing in our lives during these two weeks (and before we even arrived) and urge us to bear witness to God’s reign by the power of God’s Spirit in whatever ways God will call us.