My friend Mark Tidsworth recently shared this quote by Hans Kung in The Church as the People of God: "A church which pitches its tents without constantly looking out for new horizons, which does not continually strike camp, is being untrue to its calling. ... [We must] play down our longing for certainty, accept what is risky, and live by improvisation and experiment."
You will rarely hear this preached in a Sunday morning worship service. Most of those who step into pulpits feel compelled to preach about certainty, stability, and safety. Even those who do not proclaim a gospel of prosperity are reluctant to tell their congregants, “Don’t get too comfortable. Not only are things going to change but, if we are the people of God, we should expect them to change.”
When rightly lived, the message we proclaim of the Kingdom of God is about instability, change, and new challenges. My pastor preached on Luke 13:18-19 yesterday. In this passage, Jesus says, “What is the kingdom of God like? What shall I compare it to? It is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his garden. It grew and became a tree, and the birds perched in its branches.” (NIV) The sermon emphasized the potential in the smallest of seeds to grow into an expected expression of the Kingdom. The preacher got the message of the passage and delivered it clearly. The Kingdom is about surprises. When we least expect it, the Kingdom will break in among us and upset our best laid plans, calling us to new opportunities for ministry.
If the church today is to be an expression of the Kingdom of God, then we had best pack our bags and be ready to move.