Being a former solider in the Middle Ages, the concept of “kingdom” had a certain shape and significance for Ignatius. He encourages us to reflect on our identity as servants and subjects in the Kingdom of Christ, starting by imagining our allegiance to an earthly king. For him, it was simply a given for any good and reasonable person to submit themselves to the king’s summons. In our very different political landscape, we assume a leader must be worthy of our allegiance. Either way, we can imagine the most virtuous, honest, and honorable political leader. Imagine this leader and nation, urging its citizens to promote justice and peace. Now Ignatius says to picture Christ with the whole world under his reign and realize how much more deserving is he—our divine, eternal King—and how much more our allegiance should be to him.
- Read Mark 4:1–34.
- Ask God for ears to hear.
- Let Jesus' parables sink into your mind’s eye. Picture the sower generously scattering seed, and watch as the plants grow or die in their place. See the lantern, shrouded and only glowing dimly. Pull the cover off and allow the light to flood your vision, blinding you temporarily, but slowly revealing the shape of everything around. Walk with the farmer patiently watching and tending his crop, not fretting or meddling but waiting for time to do its work in the ground. Hold the minuscule mustard seed in your hand, and survey the sprawling fields it grows.
- Reflect on the characteristics of Christ’s Kingdom: surprise, patience, illumination, expansion, humility, and whatever else you notice. What does this say about the way in which Christ is a King? And what does it say about how we live as subjects and citizens in his Kingdom?
- Imagine Christ seated on the throne of heaven and offer yourself to his service with this prayer:"Eternal Lord of all things, in the presence of your infinite goodness and your whole company of saints, with your favor and help, I offer you myself. It is my earnest desire and my deliberate choice to serve and praise you by living as you did, to imitating you in suffering all wrongs, all abuse, and all poverty, both actual and spiritual—should you choose for me such a way of life."
About the Author
Nick Chambers is the Director of Spiritual Formation at Calvary UMC