”The Kingdom of God is not, as we know, the Church, and the Church is not the Kingdom. The parables of this section of Matthew are in many places about hiding and enemies and confusion. There is the sower a little bit earlier, there’s wheat and weeds, there’s treasure to be sought. Nothing is entirely obvious, and nothing is entirely simple. In other words, the Kingdom is here, but do not take things therefore as settled. There will be cost and exhaustion and difficulty and deception, before it is fully revealed. It is both obvious and hidden; it is both easy to reach and yet it requires all that we have.
The Church institutionally, through its history, is often said and often wishes to say that it is the Kingdom, not least because that gives us a certain authority. But the Kingdom of God, that which we have and that for which we search, is far more than we are. It is the place of God’s reign and rule, of God’s authority and decision, in which the light is clearer, the call louder, and the direction better established. It will reach completion at the return of Christ, but in the meantime when we see the signs of the Kingdom, our hearts lift and our faith renews.
The treasure of the Kingdom has been seen in many ways, with great diversity, through history. Because God loves us, and because all that we understand of God is fully known in the incarnation of Jesus Christ, we know that the Kingdom is lived out within cultures. It is ‘in’ but not ‘of’. It is recognisable as itself, as the Kingdom, but it is recognisable in every culture to those who look with the eyes they have. […]
As the Kingdom is revealed around the world, and in different contexts, it bears enough resemblance to what each individual culture understands, to make it clear that this is something they can be part of.”