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Matthew 14:13-21 "About Eating and Feeding" for Sunday, July 31

Matthew 13:31-52 "What is the Kingdom Like?" for Sunday, July 24, 2011

My thoughts from the lectionary three years ago:
To what would you compare the Kingdom of Heaven? It is like finding the technology stock you bought in the 1980s for $50 and suddenly realizing you are a millionaire.  It is like the owner of DeBeers finally finding the perfect diamond and selling a billion dollar empire to have it. It is like the harassed physician tired of the HMOs, selling home and BMW and finding bliss in a mission in Congo.It is like the crack addict waking up with a clear head and is free to choose a new life.  


What will we tell our congregations about the Kingdomof Heaven?What makes this Kingdom any better than what can be gotten at the mall?  Is it bigger than the consumer paradise promised every 7 minutes while we watch Desperate Housewives?  Is it something that can only be had in the next life, so we must patiently suffer in this life to earn it?  Will we be any closer to the Kingdomof Heaven if the right Supreme Court Justice is nominated, if our kids pray in school and have the 10 Commandments etched in 20 tons of marble in front of every town hall, or if we properly observe separation of church and state?  If we double the new member classes and exceed the demands of the annual budget will we be any closer to the Kingdomof Heaven? 


Sure, these may sound like silly rhetorical questions.  But I must confess that I regularly let things much less valuable than the Kingdomof Heaventake on ultimate importance in my life.  As much as I wish to deny, repress and shove this thought into my unconscious, worldly success too often is my measure of the Kingdomof Heaven.I can easily settle for much less than the life Jesus has to offer.  I think our churches and our spiritual lives suffer more from an anemic view of what being a Christian can be like and a paltry view of the Kingdom of Heaven in our midst than from doctrinal error or, God forbid, a lack of funds.  When our congregations start to complain about the hymn selection or meet far into the night about carpet colors it is time to rise up and say, “What is the

Kingdom of Heaven like?”  Jesus did not go to Websters Dictionary for a precise definition of the Kingdom of Heaven.  Precision has its place, but here he means to stimulate the imagination.  Our life with God is better than the most breath-taking thing we can imagine.  We plant tiny seeds, we search the fields for it, we scour the marketplace and when we find the divine presence, nothing else can compare.  It seems that the searchers in these brief parables were not quite expecting what they found.  They didn’t know their seeds would grow so well, they stumbled across the treasure while working the field, while looking for fine pearls they find one so incomparable.  They were searching and working, but found more than their imagination.   


I take this short series of parables to challenge me into a daily awareness of the Kingdom of Heaven breaking in all around me.  It is there if I can lift my attention from lesser things.  Greater intimacy with God awaits my vision to sweep in a new direction.  My urban ministries professor, Bill Weber, always said, “The Kingdom of God comes in inches, and we must learn to celebrate every small glimpse we can find.”  Then he would talk about finding the Kingdom in every unemployed person that found a job, every addict who got sober, every poor child who stayed in school and got an education.  These are the mustard seeds of hope that surround us. 


What small and insignificant seed of great importance are you called to attend to today?



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Re: Matthew 13:31-52 What is the Kingdom Like? for Sunday, July 24
by Anonymous at 01:03AM (EDT) on Jul 17, 2005  |  Permanent Link
thanks for the helpful insights and comments. i like your blog alot. I would recomend including something about yourself. As blogs go, this helps create the feeling that we the readers are connecting with a real human being, it can help create trust if we know something about you, where you're from etc. It was great to read of your Iowa youth, as I too am from Iowa. My family has farmed in the ankeny/bondurant area for 5 generations and I appreciated your explication of weed-pulling. anyway, keep up the good work,
Re: Matthew 13:31-52 What is the Kingdom Like? for Sunday, July 24
by Anonymous at 05:48PM (EDT) on Jul 24, 2005  |  Permanent Link
I just found your blog last week. I linked from textweek weblogs which I found through, which I use often. I used your comments on the Gospel for July 24th as a reflection for our online small faith sharing community at St. Bernadette/Our Lady of Lourdes parishes in Indianapolis. There 8 of us who share on each week's readings. I usually surf around looking for something that sparks my interest and which I think will elicit good sharing within our group. I am also a religious ed teacher for kids in 2nd grade and up to 5th grade and am always looking for ideas to get the kids involved with the Sunday readings. I am excited about your blog as it seems to offer an insight sometimes missing in other reflections...not that I haven't found wonderful fodder for discussion from many different sources! I want to thank you for your gift of insight.
Kate Cabell
Re: Re: Matthew 13:31-52 What is the Kingdom Like? for Sunday, July 24
by bloomingcactus at 10:07PM (EDT) on Jul 24, 2005  |  Permanent Link
Thanks Kate,
I appreciate knowing how people are using this site. I'm new at doing this on the web and want to make it usable.

Todd - Blooming Cactus
Re: Matthew 13:31-52 "What is the Kingdom Like?" for Sunday, July 24 by Anonymous at 09:33PM (EDT) on Jul 30, 2005  |  Permanent Link I really enjoyed reading your "updated" parables. I was searching for commentary on this passage last minute for my summer Sunday school class (7th thru 12th grades) and yours was the first one that I clicked on from google. I was inspired to plan to pair them up, older with younger, and have them write their own new parables for the Kingdom of Heaven. Thanks! I also enjoyed the rest of your comments. Very insightful and thought provoking. - wendy