I got an email from a good friend who wrote, “Some days I am worried about the future of our finances, my relationships, my kids, or the health of those I love. Other days I am just content to have a roof over my head and can blissfully clean the garage without a care…” He also wrote about going for a walk that morning with his dogs: “I thought to myself how cool, I am going to be out for thirty minutes surrounded by nature and my loving critters who every time we go for a walk act like it’s the first time and maybe the last time they will ever get to go out… Why can’t my kids be like that?”
He called his walk that morning a manufactured kingdom moment and wanted to know if I knew what he was talking about, if it made any sense. Felt like the understated question of the year to me. In the midst of a whirlwind of details and deadlines, I’d been clinging to moments like these—moments Jesus called kingdom. Moments when heaven and earth bend and touch, shaking us awake and aware that we’re always standing squarely in the middle of all God’s things.
Is it right at all to think of manufacturing a kingdom moment? Making a moment that has no business being kingdom feel like kingdom? A moment when cleaning the garage is bliss, when a walk under the trees on your street carries the intensity of the first time, or the last? Is such a thing even possible?
I remembered a moment from the film Harvey with James Stewart and had to see it again just to make sure. Besides watching one of our greatest film actors melt into a role, Jimmy Stewart manufactured a kingdom moment, a kingdom character, right before our eyes–and in this scene tells how he never has free time anymore because he’s so busy sitting with friends and listening to their big hurts and even bigger dreams and warming himself in all those “golden moments.”
Then as if in answer from my friend’s email: “I love people and love to share experiences. Some psychologist may say I am insecure or co-dependent—I don’t know and really don’t care. I just feel like if you paint a beautiful picture or make a movie and no one ever sees it, what’s the point?”
What is the point?
We fall in love with our film stars because they repeatedly take us where we’ve never gone ourselves or show us where we’ve already been with style and a soundtrack. At their best, speaking the words of equally gifted writers, they open windows to emotions and perspectives and circumstances that we find hard to access on our own. If we can use those golden moments recorded on film or in an email to recognize and embrace our own golden moments when they arrive, that’s a point. And if instead of merely waiting for our golden, kingdom moments to arrive, we learn to move out and meet them, to “manufacture” them to the beat of our own internal soundtrack, that’s an even bigger point.
Our moments are up to us. They are what we allow them to be, and we decide which moments are golden—we’re the only ones who can. There is no kingdom moment apart from our decision to make it so, to recognize that we’re always standing at the intersection of heaven and earth whether we choose to make the connection or not.
And if we never make the connection, never connect the dots from one life to another–whether real, written, or recorded…there is no point.