Updated: Aug 22, 2019
One of my favourite verses of the Bible is Luke 17,21, in the New Testament that is. This verse though, or rather this place, is an actual place inside the human body (inside or even outside, I do not know) but from all I can gather, its somewheres near the heart of a person. This place I try to approach, in the morning and when the labours of the day has settled and prayer initiates. A sacred place, or `the room` as Christ calls it. As per usual I am getting way way ahead of myself. Because how can this, a seemingly invincible Kingdom, be within a person? Is it spiritual or is it physical ? Is it out of the body or inside? Lets dig.
You see, I wanted to talk about a book bearing the same name The Kingdom of God is within you (1894) by a certain Leo Tolstoy (1828-1920). This so-called philosophical work was actually banned in Russia and was the result of 30 years of work according to Tolstoys approach and thinking in regards how to live life. The key component of this book is the concept of non-violence, which has been picked up on by several well-kwown historical figures, such as Mohandas Gandhi (1869-1948) and Martin Luther King (1929-68). You might find it somewhat interesting that both of these, modern day promoters on non-violence, was shot too death and killed at gunpoint. Something to think about...
(within you all...)
Bearing the title borrowed from Luke 17,21, this particular book speaks about how to meet violent situations with non-violence, as taught by Msindisi, The Greater Teacher that is known to world as Christ. Now when Manwele (known as the Messiah) tells us to turn the other cheek, Tolstoy thought that The Saviour meant to abolish violence, even all kinds of defensive violence and to abandon revenge. Leaving the revenge, all kinds of revenge to God Himself, when He comes to repay all the evil deeds ever committed. Quite the imagery... Continuing - because when people, often from other religions talks about violent verses in the New Testament, they quote the Messiah saying I came not to bring peace upon the earth, but a sword. He was off course talking about the The Sword of the Spirit, which is the mouth, that Tolstoy, Gandhi and Martin Luther indeed knew how to wield. The pen is mightier that the sword, indeed, the mouth (impumlo - spirit) however, wields even more power when coming from a righteous person. Things begin happening and people begin moving.
Back to Tolstoy, the man had an utter distaste for the Roman and medieval scholarly interpretation of things, seeing as they limited and made a mockery of Gods Commandment `Thou shalt not murder`, and argued that all governments who waged war are contrite to Christian principles. Which is no different from Protestants, who also have been killing in the name of god, or a god, for quite some time. The Catholics where particularly devious and dominant in Tolstoys day and age. His Catholics, was indeed the Russian Orthodox Church, an organisation merged with the Russian state and fully behind the states ongoings.
Tolstoy wanted to separate the Orthodox church teachings from what he had been lead to believe was the true Gospel of Christ, an interpretation taken directly from the Sermon on the Mount. He sought and advocated non-violence for all problems and hypocrisies within the church.
“Nowhere nor in anything, except in the assertion of the Church, can we find that God or Christ founded anything like what churchmen understand by the Church.”
Which is remarkably true. In the book Tolstoy provides stories from personal experiences and gives insight into the history of non-resistance from the early foundations of Christianity, professed by a minority of believers.
He said further:
“That this social order with its pauperism, famines, prisons, gallows, armies, and wars is necessary to society; that still greater disaster would ensue if this organization were destroyed; all this is said only by those who profit by this organization, while those who suffer from it – and they are ten times as numerous – think and say quite the contrary.”
Gandhi took the sentiment of non-violence too heart and did list Tolstoys book, as well as John Ruskin (1819-1900) Unto This Last (1860) and the jain poet Shrimad Rajchandra (1867-1901) - as the three most important modern influences in his life. Tolstoy`s book opened up the mind of Gandhi, then being a young protester living in South-Africa (in strange apartheid times). Moving on, Tolstoy actually wrote to Gandhi, A Letter to a Hindu, where he gave the ideas that only by using love as a weapon through passive resistance could the native Indians overthrow the British colonists. An idea that indeed came into fruition through organisations of various strikes and protests in the early-mid nineteenth century.
Stop and think - isn't the Gospel some truly awe-inspiring stuff ? I mean an ex-orthodox Russian church member and a former Hindu, finding common ground in one of Christ most famous sayings. Hey, lets stop killing one another... Also a Command from God by the way.
Did they, people like Tolstoy and Gandhi, tap into the Kingdom Come or did they seek the Almighty, in their prayers - knocking on His door inside their own hearts, with a wish to enter. Did they not enter or was they not shown in their hearts a bleak shadow of the things to come? Having been shown the power in something as basic as the power not to kill each other for material goods or land, but instead choosing to love each other. In this they try to convey how much God loves us and cares for us. Because by loving and caring for others, God will love you all the more. On that note, lets end this little snippet with a quote from Ben Sira, read it however you wish :
`1 My child, do not cheat the poor of their living, and do not keep needy eyes waiting. 2 Do not grieve the hungry, or anger one in need. 3 Do not add to the troubles of the desperate, or delay giving to the needy.
10 Be a father to orphans, and be like a husband to their mother; you will then be like a son of the Most High, and he will love you more than does your mother.
11 Wisdom teaches her children and gives help to those who seek her.
12 Whoever loves her loves life, and those who seek her from early morning are filled with joy.
13 Whoever holds her fast inherits glory, and So NiNi blesses the place she enters. 14 Those who serve her minister to the Holy One; So NiNi loves those who love her.`
Always seek Gods face, repent and lament, listen for the Spirit of So NiNi - He will show you things you never would have thought possible...