WISDOM 12:13, 16-19 ROMANS 8:26-27 MATTHEW 13:24-30
Today we’re thinking about the kingdom of heaven, the central theme of Jesus’ ministry. Sometimes, as in the passage we’re reading today, Jesus spins a parable that delivers an impression of the kingdom.
What makes the kingdom difficult to describe is that it’s not just a concept; it’s also, and primarily, an experience. As we walk the Christian journey, the kingdom will intersect our lives. Sometimes it may come as a flash of lucidity but a definition may allude us. Sometimes it may not be a thought at all, but a feeling – a deep, downin-the-heart experience that’s difficult to describe.
I wish I could share with you a precise definition of the kingdom, but I can’t. What I can do, however, is focus the images Jesus uses to describe it. From that point on, I will leave it to you to form your own idea of the kingdom.
There are three images of the kingdom in the gospel today. The first is a field of wheat that has lots of weeds. In the story the landowner declares that an enemy has planted these weeds. He can’t pull the weeds up because he’ll pull the wheat up along with it. So, he’ll let them grow together and separate them at harvest time. (Focus thought) There’s tension built into the story; an enemy has planted the weeds. It seems there’s opposition to the flourishing of the kingdom. What does this image teach us about the dynamics of the kingdom?
The second image is that of a tiny mustard seed that grows into a tree. (Focus thought) What power is hidden in that tiny seed that transforms it into a tree? Does that power manifest the energy of the kingdom in our midst? How?
The third image is a lump of yeast that mixes with flour. (Focus thought) When yeast is mixed into flour, there is no longer yeast nor flour – combined, they become dough. What can this teach us about the kingdom?
These little parables are meant to be pondered and prayed over. Let your heart guide your thoughts. Feel free to let your mind wander about with these images. All kind of ideas might surface. Respect them. As you reflect don’t ignore your feelings; they’re connected to the heart. We want our reflections to be thoughtful and personal – heartfelt. The Spirit works through the heart as well as the intellect. While reflecting, keep in mind what Jesus taught us: “The kingdom of God is among you.” (Luke 17:21)