The Tales of the Kingdom trilogy has probably shaped my view of the world more profoundly than any other series (aside from maybe Chronicles of Narnia). You should read them. All of them. There’s a king, who has been exiled from the city (which is now ruled by an evil Enchanter, who makes night day and day night). The King and his people live in a forest called Great Park. But he is coming back to reclaim the city for his own, to hunt out all the dark places, to bring light by telling stories, to bring restoration.
The Ranger watch cry, a call and response that echoes from tower to tower throughout the forest has been ringing in my head lately:
“How goes the world?”
“The world goes not well.”
“But the Kingdom comes!”
“The Kingdom comes!”
It goes not well. Very many days, it goes not well. Very many days there is brokenness, and rape, and loneliness, and hunger, and people trapped by sickness and death, and dying from Ebola in pools of their own blood, and drugs in Sweetwaters made from rat poison and ARVs, and abandonment, and people who just don’t really care, and rich people who throw parties so they don’t have to think about it all.
The world goes not well. And sometimes I stop there. But I have to remind myself:
The Kingdom comes.
The king has come and he will come again, the restoration has begun. It’s slow but it’s there. There are people carrying light into the dark places, the places no one else wants to go. So if you ever feel like the world goes not well, here are a few things you can join me in doing to remind yourself that the kingdom comes– and you can join the restoration.
iThemba Teens camp: Three days of fun for teenagers from Sweetwaters. A chance to just hang out, be silly, and be loved by the iThemba mentors. A chance for teens to process their problems in a safe space, to share about what’s really going on at home, and a chance for them to engage more fully in conversations about Jesus. We want to take 50 teens this December, and we can’t do that unless we have friends from all over the world partnering with us to sponsor them. Here’s some information on how to do that.
Donate to NGO’s fighting Ebola. The governments in west Africa don’t have the infrastructure to cope with this crisis. They desperately need NGOs who can help them save lives and stop the spread of this disease. Here’s a list of organizations working in the area. Join me and donate to one of them.
Celebrate Advent. Advent means arrival- it’s the time in the Christian tradition when we look forward to the celebration of the arrival of Jesus (the first time he came, and the time he’s coming again). So if you’re one of those social justice people like me who ever feels the world goes not well, and want to remember again that the Kingdom comes, join me. I’m going to try to write a reflection every day of advent- sometimes gathering good things others have written, sometimes writing my own, probably looking at social justice things, but maybe not… it will be an adventure. I don’t want to spam all of my followers who don’t have time to read things or aren’t into the whole Jesus thing. So if you want daily Advent reflections, email me at steph.ebert17(at)gmail(dot)com and I’ll sign you up. Otherwise, once a week I’ll post something on the blog, that’s kind of a summary.
“So, how goes the world?” you ask.
“It goes not well,” I say. “But the Kingdom comes,” I add.
The Kingdom comes.