What’s Over the Next Hill?

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Do you share my curiosity to see what’s beyond your current view? To see what’s around the curve or over the next hill? I can recall times, especially while hiking, when I’ve regretted not having enough time or enough energy to hike to the next overlook. What beauty or inspiration might I be missing because I can’t see further? I never want to miss any new views!

Here in West Virginia, there are many mornings when thick fog impedes our sight. But when the fog lifts, from our balcony we can see the green lawn that stretches across to a bordering creek. Along the creek is a thick line of trees, and beyond the trees is a cow pasture on a hill. Since moving here this summer, I’ve been curious about what new sights we would see once the trees lost their leaves. And now that season is here!

So far, an old barn, a small shed, and additional trees have been revealed as the leafy foliage begins to thin. We also have more opportunities to see the cows grazing in the open spaces. Our sunsets are more strikingly visible and expansive. I have loved seeing these new sights, but I’m also aware that this new season is teaching me…

Even with our increased range of vision, we are unable to see beyond the pasture hill. I’m learning that even as we mature and grow, as our vision expands, there will still be “views” beyond our sight. This idea speaks to me of the kingdom of God, how we can see glimpses of the kingdom, even as we can’t fully experience it yet. But here is the new revelation for me:

Jesus said that God’s kingdom is here, God’s kingdom is now.

I know that if I were to climb across the pasture over the hill I would see some new sights, but my view would also include many of the same scenes as before- fields, trees, buildings, and people. The earth stretches over a sphere of changing landscapes, but each landscape is on a continuum with the one before, while gradually and uniquely evolving. One really cool thing about the kingdom of God is that we are already on this continuum, too! We are already part of the kingdom and we will continue on, gradually evolving, in ever-changing landscapes.

The beauty of God’s loving presence is here, no matter how far our field of vision extends. God’s presence is within us. God’s presence is in our souls and in the fragile shells that encompass our souls. God’s presence is surrounding us in the fog, is as close as the grass, and is expanding beyond to the creek, the trees, the pasture, and up the hill. God is in the people who are on this journey with us. God is in this very moment. God then stretches to infinity beyond it all! And so will we.

As curious as we may be, we no longer need to search beyond our vision for the kingdom of God. We only need to feel what is already deep within us, to see what is right before us, to love what is all around us, with a heart in tune to noticing how God’s loving presence is present. And perhaps the more we notice and participate in kingdom living- here and now- when it is our time to leave this earthly realm we won’t need to climb the next hill, but simply turn our heads and smile in recognition.

 

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