Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God…Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. John 3:3,5
Another anniversary of death has come and gone. There are few left around me besides my children who remember John. But every bleak and cold January, I cannot help but think about that snowy frigid afternoon when we said good-bye to the one we loved. Anna Joy and I sat at dinner last night and remembered things that made us love him so much. At his funeral, we sang, “And we will dance on the streets that are golden…” John loved to dance. And even after 13 years, I feel his arms around me as we stood at the bow of a steamboat on the Ohio River and danced alone in the dark to mushy love songs from the 60’s. Such memories prove I am growing old, but I am not sad. He is dancing on the streets that are golden! How could I be sad? In heaven the Lord will give me dancing feet, but John got his on this side of the veil.
John dances in heaven, but I dance in the Kingdom of heaven. That is the essence of the temporary separation between us. Both John the Baptist and Jesus preached in their days on earth that the Kingdom is at hand. I have thought about the Kingdom of heaven, or the Kingdom of God as heaven itself, but that is not what scripture plainly says. The Kingdom of God came to earth with Christ. Jesus brought it here and now through His sacrifice for us, the way that he made for us to be saved, to be filled with His Spirit, to walk in newness of life—this is the Kingdom of God on earth that has revolutionized individuals and nations for two thousand years. “Behold, the Kingdom of God is within you!” (Luke 17:21)
So on special anniversary days, when I am tempted to be sad and lonely, I walk in the Spirit and not in the flesh. I have experienced Jesus’ invitation to Nicodemus in John 3. I have been born both of water and of Spirit. I have already entered into the Kingdom of God. Today, I need to live in it. I am a witness to the Kingdom of God in my life, in my family, and in my work. His principles and Presence are the way, the truth and the life. Everything else around us is dead though it appears to live.
The Holy Spirit has invited me today to enter His Kingdom on earth. Heaven awaits, but there is work to do. The Kingdom is within me, so I will walk among the dead, and they cannot help but see the Light of Christ as a city set on a hill cannot be hidden. I give you the urgent invitation of Jesus today—be born of the Spirit and SEE the Kingdom of God! He will turn your mourning into dancing.
You have turned my mourning into dancing for me; You have put off my sackcloth and girded me with gladness, To the end that my tongue and my heart and everything glorious within me may sing praise to You and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks to You forever. Psalm 30:11-12 amp.