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Reflections on the Basileia

Once Jesus was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God was coming, and he answered, ‘The kingdom of God is not coming with things that can be observed; nor will they say, “Look, here it is!” or “There it is!” For, in fact, the kingdom of God is among you.’ (Luke 17: 20-21).   “The Kingdom of God, on Earth as it is in Heaven.” That is what we pray for, sometimes every week, within the Lord’s Prayer. Yet, is it what we work for? Is it what we join hands for? Is it what grounds our activism and enthuses our bodies for the work we must do?

On the occasion of the 2008 session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) at the United Nations in New York, with 160 delegates representing churches within many, many countries in the world, Ecumenical Women will work from all our own cultural contexts to explore the themes and analysis from the Monterrey Consensus and how it all engages–or doesn’t–with the Biblical vision of the Kingdom of God.  EW is planning a worship service – and it’s all about the kingdom: that “other” world, a world of justice, peace and community, which will come and is already amidst us, and which inspires us in our struggle for peace and justice.

Although “basileia,” the original Greek term, is usually translated in most English bibles as “Kingdom of God”, it is not the only way of translating it.  Additionally, English is not the only language women and men use to speak about the basileia. Therefore, we ask you: What comes into your mind when you hear “basileia”, or “Kingdom of God”? Do you use a terminology other than “Kingdom? If so, why do you think it is more appropriate? What is the word you use in your own language? What does the translation infer? Does it identify with a (male) ruler, or rather to a community of equal people? Or, to something else?

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