A couple of years back, I wrote these lines in a song called I Don’t Know:
I don’t know the way you’ll choose to work
You may send me to the ends of the earth
Of course Australia, where I live, is already the end of the earth! But recently I got to visit another distant land that triggered that line in my mind… South Africa.
While in that amazing country for 2 weeks in February, I had many moments where I was standing in the middle of nowhere. Maybe in the middle of the countryside or on the coast, with barely anyone else in sight. And yet I couldn’t help feeling that I was actually way closer to reality and the core of life than when in the city, where I normally live.
Rather than being the middle of nowhere, this was very definitely the middle of somewhere.
I had the privilege of visiting this beautiful country for an EMU Music tour. We partnered with churches and Bible colleges in Durban and Cape Town. We ran 6 events for about 1300 people overall, sharing training resources and songs with a view to helping churches in their music ministry. (See the full rundown HERE.)
Make no mistake, South Africa is an exceptionally beautiful country – and the people are amazingly warm and buoyant. I can’t wait to go back there. Yet there is a deep and confronting reality to the country. Politically, socially, and economically, the answers are unclear.
So when we attended an event held by Passion (church from Atlanta Georgia) at Cape Town Stadium – with incredible music from Chris Tomlin and the Passion band – lead pastor Louie Giglio’s words hit me powerfully:
“It is not ultimately about the state of the nation… What ultimately matters is the state of the Kingdom.”
He was referring, of course, to the Kingdom of God – a Kingdom that we see hints of here on earth, but that will be fully realised when Jesus returns.
Coming from Australia, I have not really known political uncertainty. A change in government here probably means a new emphasis in social policy and economic priorities. But not much more. It is easy to trust in this ‘kingdom’ – where the rule of law and democracy ensure a degree of transparency and accountability. But that is not true everywhere. And even here in Australia, ‘justice’ is imperfect – prone to human error, and human manipulation.
So when Giglio reminded us of the complete stability of the Kingdom of God, I saw that notion in a completely new light. It made me hunger more deeply to be with Jesus in the new creation. Where nothing can derail us. The ‘State of the Kingdom’, as Giglio put it, is one of complete certainty and stability. Most importantly, the King of that Kingdom loves his children, and will welcome them with open arms. What an incredible hope. Bring on the day.