Jesus spoke a lot about the Kingdom or Realm of God, a term which from the Aramaic could be translated as the Reign of Unity; it is recognised as his main message. It is clear from his teachings that this state of being is already present now, and within us (Luke 17.21), and it is also a future realisation (Your kingdom come Luke 11.2). This realm is where love, peace and justice for all reign. It has often been interpreted by the church as a requisite for good behaviour. But it is the other way around – entering into this God-filled realm changes and enables us. And more than that, it is a place of unity, oneness and wholeness – with God, with each other, with creation. Jesus’ prayer for us in John 17.20-23 is: ‘that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world will believe you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one; I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.’
This experience of unity is something that the mystics of all ages have described. But we have inherited a worldview of separation that sees us as separate from God, from each other, from the planet and from all other life which has led to so many of the problems that we face today. The teachings of Jesus and the essence of Christianity have been interpreted through this lens. But we live in a time when evidence from numerous fields of research reveals the unified nature of reality. It is dynamic, changing, evolving and purposeful and it shows our interconnectedness, interdependence and belonging with the whole community of our planetary home. It is unity expressed in diversity, and the essence of its power and presence is love.
This may be a new scientific understanding but it describes the universe as it has always been, and we can see glimpses of this in much indigenous wisdom. So as we saw with the realm of God, it is always there, around and within, but needs to be recognised so we can live by and in it. Jesus called this process for us metanoia which means to change or enlarge your mind. Modern parlance might call it ‘raising your consciousness’. In the bible this is usually translated as ‘repent’ which has come to have different connotations. So to rephrase Mark 1.15 when Jesus inaugurated his ministry ‘The reign of God is near. Open your mind and believe the good news’.
Science and spirituality have been assigned separate paths for the last few hundred years so it is exciting to come back to a point where they are integrated and say the same thing. As we see in the Aramaic language of Jesus, this is the reign of unity. The United Nations now recognise the importance of this and have adopted the unitive narrative as a basis for approaching their SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals). Recognising and living by this unitive narrative really would enable individuals and communities to operate in equality, love and justice with each other, with the planet and with the Source of all that is.