If we try to make the church into the kingdom of God, we create idolatry. If we try to make this world itself into the kingdom, we will always be resentful and disappointed. If we make heaven into the kingdom, we miss most of its transformative message. We are not waiting for the coming of an ideal church or any perfect world here and now, or even just for the next world. The kingdom is more than all of these. It is always here and not here. It is always now and not yet. No institution can encompass it. That is rather clear in the texts where Jesus describes the kingdom. All false religion proceeds in a certain sense from one illusion. When people say piously, “Thy kingdom come” out of one side of their mouth, they need also to say, “My kingdom go!” out of the other side. The kingdom of God supersedes and far surpasses all kingdoms of self and society or personal reward. As Jesus says in another place, “No one can serve two masters, he will always love one and ignore the other” (Matthew 6:24). Our first and final loyalty is to one kingdom: God’s or our own. We really can’t fake it. The Big Picture is apparent when God’s work and will is central, and we are happy to take our place in the corner of the frame. This is “doing the will of my Father in heaven” and allows the larger theater of life and love to unfold.
—from the book Preparing for Christmas: Daily Meditations for Advent
by Richard Rohr