Sister and Brother (#3 of 3)

Context: This is the last in a series of three blogs which arrived in rapid succession on the same morning. Whilst I was praying, I saw that everyone is my sister, my brother and my mother, and that every child is my child. God is within us all, so we all belong to one family, and we are all one. Jesus, of course, understood this long ago:

There was a crowd sitting around Jesus, and someone said, “Your mother and your brothers are outside asking for you.” Jesus replied, “Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?” Then he looked at those around him and said, “Look, these are my mother and brothers. Anyone who does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother” (Mark 3:32-5; NLT). 

You’re my Sister and Brother,
My Child and my Kin;

My Teacher, my Shepherd,
My Saviour, my King;

My Mother and Father,
My Staff and my Rod,

For, living in all,
You’re my Lord and my God.

Christ is all that matters, and he lives in all of us (Colossians 3:11; NLT).

“My Lord and my God!” Thomas exclaimed (John 20:28; NLT).


References

The King will reply, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me” (Matthew 25:40; NIV).

He gives the childless woman a household, making her the joyful mother of children (Psalm 113:9; CSB).

What is the Kingdom of God like?

Context: After posting yesterday’s prayer (https://wp.me/p45bCr-c36), I saw that the image of the wolf lying down with the lamb is a wonderful way of representing the revolutionary quality of relationships in the Kingdom of God (Isaiah 11:6-9; NIV).

This radically new way of living is characterised by treating everyone with love, regardless of how they behave towards us. We all have the potential to live like this, because God’s Kingdom is present within everyone (Luke 17:20-21; NKJV). Jesus lived as a citizen of God’s Kingdom on earth, and we, too, as individuals, can work towards the same goal.

However, for the Kingdom of God to hold sway throughout the whole world, we must all overcome the temptation to judge, reject, hurt, hate and destroy others. This applies to every person, family, group, denomination, caste, sect, class, tribe, religion and nation.

Both individually and collectively, the human qualities we need to overcome include:

  • Behaving selfishly and callously towards others
  • Refusing to share what we have
  • Controlling, dominating, bullying and abusing those less powerful than ourselves
  • Taking what belongs to other people
  • Judging and rejecting others for being different from ourselves in any way
  • Rejecting those with different spiritual beliefs and practices from ourselves
  • Looking down on, or hating, those whose skin-colour, sexuality, or way of life, is different from our own
  • Pursuing cruel, destructive conflicts and wars
  • Overexploiting and destroying the earth, our only shared home

Using richly symbolic, visionary language, Isaiah vividly illustrates what it will be like when everyone lives in the Kingdom of God:

The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them. The cow will feed with the bear, their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox. The infant will play near the cobra’s den, and the young child will put its hand into the viper’s nest. They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain, for the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea (Isaiah 11:6-9; NIV).

Following this train of reflection, today’s poem quickly came to me, though it was very difficult to put into words:

Jesus said, “What is the Kingdom of God like? How can I illustrate it? It is like a tiny mustard seed that a man planted in a garden; it grows and becomes a tree, and the birds make nests in its branches.” He also asked, “What else is the Kingdom of God like? It is like the yeast a woman used in making bread. Even though she put only a little yeast in three measures of flour, it permeated every part of the dough” (Luke 13:18-21; NLT). 

What is the Kingdom of God like?
The strong take good care of the weak,
Men treat all women as equals,
And wait for their sisters to speak.

What is the Kingdom of God like?
The rich share their wealth with the poor.
The healthy assist the disabled,
And all give up hatred and war.

What is the Kingdom of God like?
It’s heaven on earth and above,
For colour and creed make no difference
When all live in God, who is Love.

God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them (1 John 4:16; NIV). 


References 

When He was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He answered them and said, “The kingdom of God does not come with observation; nor will they say, ‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’ For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you” (Luke 17:20-21; NKJV). 

The LORD will mediate between nations and will settle international disputes. They will hammer their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will no longer fight against nation, nor train for war anymore (Isaiah 2:4; NLT).

I heard a loud voice calling from the throne,“Look! God’s Tabernacle is among humankind! God will live with them; they will be God’s people, and God will be fully present among them. The Most High will wipe away every tear from their eyes. And death, mourning, crying and pain will be no more, for the old order has fallen.” The One who sat on the throne said, “Look! I’m making everything new!” and added, “Write this, for what I am saying is trustworthy and true.” And that One continued, “It is finished. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To those who are thirsty I will give drink freely from the spring of the water of life. This is the rightful inheritance of the overcomers. I will be their God and they will be my daughters and sons (Revelation 21:3-7; TIB).

God

Context: As soon as I woke and started to pray today, this is what I saw:

  • Only God is worthy to be worshipped by all people, creatures and things.
  • God makes, maintains and ends them all.
  • God lives over, in and through them all.
  • God can never be destroyed.
  • God is the First and the Last: infinite and eternal.
  • God is Love.

Then, as soon as I began to worship, this little prayer arrived:

God:

1. My Father,
And my Mother;

2. Spirit: Sister;
Jesus: Brother;

3. Maker, Shepherd,
Saviour, Lover:

4. You are all;
I want no other.

God will be all in all (1 Corinthians 15:28; TIB).

The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need.
(Psalm 23:1; NLT).


References 

1. You are our mother and father, YHWH; we are the clay and you are the potter, we are all the work of your hands (Isaiah 64:8; TIB). 

2. Say to wisdom, “You are my sister” (Proverbs 7:4; NIV). 

God has revealed this wisdom to us through the Holy Spirit. She searches out all things, even the deep things of God (1 Corinthians 2:10; TIB). 

Anyone who does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother (Mark 3:35; NLT). 

3. You cannot understand the work of God, the Maker of all things (Ecclesiastes 11:5; NIV). 

The Lord is my shepherd (Psalm 23:1; NLT). 

I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior (Isaiah 43:3; NLT). 

My lover is mine and I am his (Song of Songs 2:16; NLT).

4. I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ and become one with him (Philippians 3:8-9; NLT).

God has put all things under Christ’s feet and made Christ, as the ruler of everything, the head of the church, and the church is Christ’s body; it’s the fullness of the One who fills all of creation (Ephesians 1:22; TIB). 

He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all (Ephesians 1:22; NKJV). 

This is what the Lord says – Israel’s King and Redeemer, the LORD of Heaven’s Armies: “I am the First and the Last; there is no other God” (Isaiah 44:6; NLT). 

Elohim


Context:
This prayer arrived early in the morning when I’d only just woken up. There are times when I hide under my duvet, because what I receive feels so awesome, and this was one of those times. Seeing and writing it left me quite shaky for a couple of hours.

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
(Genesis 1:1; TIV). 

Yahweh,
Maker and Sustainer,
Living, loving
All in all.

 Jesus,
Light and truth, divine,
God’s human face,
The Chosen One.

Spirit Being
Sister, Brother,
Breath of God,
Like flame; like dew.

*Elohim,
All One, All Love,
All Ways in me,
And I in you.

We know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love.
Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.
(1 John 4:16; NIV).


Notes and acknowledgements

*Elohim: is a Hebrew word meaning “gods”. Although the word is plural in form, in the Hebrew Bible it usually refers to a single deity, particularly (but not always) the God of Israel. At other times it refers to deities in the plural (Wikipedia). 

Spirit: The word for “spirit” (rucha, ruach) in Aramaic and Hebrew, is feminine whereas in Greek (pneuma), it is neutral in gender. On some occasions in the Greek text, masculine verb endings and pronouns are used with the neutral gender word “Spirit” when speaking about the Holy Spirit, and sometimes it is without the definite article – i.e. just “Holy Spirit”.

Although in the Aramaic text rucha is feminine, it also uses masculine grammatical forms with the word. This conveys the male/female attributes of Yahweh carried in His ‘breath’ which of itself is neutral in gender. Being often addressed as “it” and “the”, also confirms that it is another “Person” in a trinity of ‘gods’. The term, “Holy Spirit” is a descriptive title. It is a description given for a specific manifestation of the Father’s Spirit Being (Wikibooks).

Lord, my Father

Our Father in heaven, may your name be kept holy.
(Matthew 6:9; NLT).

1. Lord, my Father,
And my Mother,

2. Christ, my Saviour,
And my Brother;

3. Spirit: Sister,
Teacher, Lover –

4. You are God:
There is no other.

I am God, and there is no other.
(Isaiah 46:9; NKJV).


References 

1. The Almighty …blesses you with blessings of the skies above, blessings of the deep springs below, blessings of the breast and the womb (Genesis 49:25; NIV).

2. He generously poured out the Spirit upon us through Jesus Christ our Saviour (Titus 3:6; NLT). 

Anyone who does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother (Mark 3:35; NLT). 

3. God, who knows everything in our hearts, knows perfectly well what the Spirit is saying, because her intercessions for God’s holy people are made according to the mind of God (Romans 8:26-7; TIB). 

The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him – the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord (Isaiah 11:2; NLT). 

Say to wisdom, “You are my sister” (Proverbs 7:4; NIV).

You have received the Holy Spirit, and he lives within you, so you don’t need anyone to teach you what is true. For the Spirit teaches you everything you need to know, and what he teaches is true (1 John 2:27; NLT). 

My beloved is mine and I am his (Song of Songs 2:16; NIV).