Upper II and the Kingdom of God
Friday 13th November 2020
Learning in love.
We are delighted to print two articles by members of Upper II who have been studying the Kingdom of God in their R.E. lessons.
Mrs Cattigan, Form Teacher Upper II Alpha, reports, ‘It is that time of year again when I challenge the girls in Upper II to write a report summarising what we have learnt about the Kingdom of God. The aim of the article is to engage and educate others and here are two reports, among the many excellent ones, which I know that people will enjoy reading. They are by Rin in Upper IIA and Hannah in Upper II Alpha and show great understanding and thoughtfulness.’
How do Christians’ religious beliefs and the teachings of Jesus
influence their moral values and behaviour?
‘My name is Rin and I am writing about how, in R.E. we have been learning about the Kingdom of God. Jesus has taught us how we should live our lives in ‘the image and likeness of God’ through the Kingdom values, parables and the covenants. Jesus did this for us so that we can understand the meaning of the Kingdom. No other great leader has made so many positive changes in the lives of his followers. In this report, I will be talking about how Jesus has influenced our moral values and behaviour.
There are many Kingdom values, and God expects us to fulfil them in our lives. All the values are very important but, in my opinion, I think the most key value is love. Showing love to people will break down barriers of disharmony and conflict, and allow us to share the message of Jesus; that he died on the cross for us, gave up his life, because he loved us and wanted to take away our sins. As Jesus’ followers, it is necessary for us to spread love, and we can do this in numerous ways like helping your friend do her homework or waking up early so that your parents don’t have to get stressed with all the morning chaos. Just a tiny act of kindness will change into something massive; love. Like Jesus told us, we need to think about how we can show love to our neighbours in our daily lives.
Jesus gave us the New Covenant, ‘Love your neighbour; just as I have loved you,’ to summarize all the ten commandments into one because if we show love to others with all our heart and all our soul, with all our strength and all our mind, we won’t break any of them. As Christians, we can carry out this in many ways such as; donating food to food banks such as CAFOD, helping in a soup kitchen, or going to church regularly. Simply, we can also donate old things that you don’t use anymore to a charity shop.
Thinking about this, we can also refer to the parable of the rich man and Lazarus, which is an example that Jesus used to show his disciples the importance of justice and how everyone should be treated equally no matter who you are. In this story, the rich one does nothing when he was alive to help Lazarus, who was a poor beggar who lay at the gate, and when they both died, the rich one had a horrible consequence, ending up going to hell while Lazarus is awarded what he couldn’t receive while he was living, leading him to heaven (Luke 16:19-21).
We are the rich man in this parable, because we have more things than we need. There are many people in the world that don’t have what we have, including all the necessities such as clothing, shelter, food, and water. God wants us not to ignore somebody that we see in need, and ‘put others’ needs before our own.’
In the parable of the Good Samaritan, a Samaritan (who was looked down upon by Jews) helps an injured traveller that lay half-dead alongside the road, while a priest and a Levite, people we would have expected to help him, just walked away.
We are the priest or the Levite in this parable, because if we put ourselves into their shoes, we would probably not have helped the man. We can sometimes be fearful about approaching someone who needs help or needs to know about Jesus. The moral of this story is that we can’t just say “I am a follower of Jesus” and not follow through with actions, we have to actually “Do” what the scripture tells you. The Good Samaritan was actually being the hands and feet of Jesus and following Christ’s example of Love and Compassion.
In conclusion, the parables, Kingdom values and the covenants, have a massive impact on us. Our mission is to show that we want to follow Christ’s footsteps, and live our lives to the fullest.’
How do Christians’ religious beliefs and the teaching of Jesus
influence their moral values and behaviour?
Hannah, in Upper II Alpha, has also been writing about the Kingdom of God: ‘This term in RE, we have been recently learning about Jesus and the Kingdom of God. We learnt about the Parables in the Bible and how they all represent God telling all to love one another equally as we have loved God.
Christians believe in justification by faith – that through their belief in Jesus as the Son of God, and in his death and restoration to life, they can have a good relationship with God and be forgiven for sins they made. This is all because of Jesus Christ sacrificing his life for us, teaching us that neighbours are not only friends or family, but the ones we dislike as well.
Jesus gave Christians the New commandment, ‘Love one another; just as I have loved you, you must also love one another’ (John 13:34). In order to live this, you could put this into practice by putting your neighbours’ needs before yours, for example, showing love by the way that you treat them, and offering to help even if you’re busy.
These are the ways we can live the Kingdom of God’s values, by showing Love, Faith, Forgiveness and Being Merciful.
Jesus is calling all of us to live like members of the Kingdom, specifically by showing the forgiveness, faith, humility and thankfulness that should naturally flow out of an experience with the Gospel. In the Parables of the Good Samaritan and The Rich Man and Lazarus, we see from the Bible that just because you speak your religion, and teach it to others, it doesn’t mean you are thoughtful and compassionate.
The Kingdom Values influence your behaviour. Jesus taught us this because he wants us to seek our mistakes, and own up to them, so we can act upon it.
‘’The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.’’’
Thank you to Upper II for their work on the Kingdom of God and to Hannah and Rin for sharing their insights with us.