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‘Living In Two Kingdoms’: David Adam

David Adam 001The Valley of Delight

One of the desires of the Celtic monks was to ‘find the place of their resurrection‘. This was a place where they would fulfil their vocation and serve God faithfully until their death. Perhaps for some this call came when they found life was being lived on a lower level than they wanted or when all had become routine rather than love. I believe the place of resurrection they were hunting out was not a place to die in but instead was a place to live their life to the full, a place to extend themselves and a place where they could be aware of the love and presence of God.

There is no doubt that they could have discovered this place anywhere; it was available to them wherever they were. But in their search there is a suggestion that there is a unique place for them not only in heaven but also on earth. There is the suggestion that we are all created for a purpose. We may feel that the world, which often appears to be far from God, hinders us in fulfilling our purpose. This may be true, for sin is often present in all the ways of the world. The world is far from perfect, as we know it. If we feel restricted or hindered we can at least turn towards God and that is the beginning of resurrection. We can affirm that we belong to God no matter what is going on around us…We are not only children of the king; we are already in his kingdom. In this way, no matter how bad the day or the events, we can in God make it a place of resurrection, a ‘lifting place’.

The Quakers who emigrated to America and Canada did not talk of ‘a place of resurrection’ but used a phrase in one of their hymns that I find deeply meaningful. They hoped to build a new life in a new world:

…This world can be a vale of sorrows, there is much in this world that is far from the loving rule of God, but like pioneers we are able to seek to usher in the kingdom of God. In God and in forwarding his kingdom we seek to transform wherever we can the vale of sorrows into the valley of delight. We are to delight in God’s world and his presence within it and to encourage others to do the same. This will often call for the gift of simplicity, the willingness not to dominate or possess. It will call us to reveal the glorious freedom that belongs to the children of God. We are not bound by the fates, and not even by death. We can show in our lives that ‘death is conquered; we are free: Christ has won the victory ‘. In the words of St Augustine we can show that ‘we are resurrection people and Alleluia is our song.’…

There is something wonderful about people who are at rest in what they are doing, people who have let go of tension and are at home in the world. This rest is a gift from God….To know God is to love him and to enjoy being with him. When we find prayer boring or worship dull, we must remember the Almighty God can neither be boring nor dull. If we cannot be bothered to pray it is because we have lost a vital relationship with God or have not yet made it. The problem is not with God but with ourselves…Each day make a homecoming and return to your God. This turning may begin with a confession of sin and penitence. It may be that you have wandered so far that you are not sure where to turn. Know that as soon as you turn your Father comes to meet you...

You do not have to imagine the Presence any more than you have to imagine the air about you. Know you are in God’s presence, in his love and in his peace. Do not let other things take this away from you. Give your love to God and let him pour his love into your heart. ‘Rejoice in the Lord’…

You should be able to delight in God and the kingdom. This is beyond price…Promise you will spend some time each day delighting in the Presence and enjoying being a citizen of heaven.

This extract is taken from the last chapter of my favourite book by David Adam, published in 2007 but still in print. SPCK say:

“As a youngster,” writes David Adam, “I always wanted to know more. I liked to climb the next hill and look around the next corner. My mother said I wanted to see the ‘back of beyond’. I was never quite sure what she meant but I was often aware of an otherness in the midst of what was plainly in view.”

Both visionary and engagingly down-to-earth, Living in Two Kingdoms helps us recognize that the visible world of matter and the invisible world of spirit are not two worlds but one. We can be sure that whatever harsh reality we may have to face from time to time, the true reality is that we are never on our own. Because here and now – whatever it may feel like, we are truly part of the kingdom of God!

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