Matthew 13: 31-33, 44-52
5 Parables of the Kingdom
There are certain moments in one’s life where one feels close to God – like Christ has come near – moments of beauty or of peace or of joy. But also those moments when you see a little glimmer of something better than what we have come to expect.
In the last four months since the impact of Covid-19 began to really bite in this country it has been notable how, under the pressure and challenges of this time, people have thought more carefully about what they value, about what they miss and about what they have been able to treasure. Whether it be the stillness and the quiet of reduced traffic, the support and kindness of neighbours, the dream of peace when small children are at school, or the opportunity to hold those who we love. We have all, perhaps, been forced to consider what is most important to us. And what it isn’t.
When Jesus comes to his people teaching them about the Kingdom of Heaven, as he does in today’s Gospel, he is speaking to a people who are fully aware of suffering and oppression – they are fully aware of the realities of life under occupation, of the impact of disease and of poverty. They have a vision of what kind of rule they live under. Jesus offers an image of a different rule and authority. Not one of might and power, like the Romans, but one which can only be glimpsed, and which even in it’s grandest images of a mustard bush so large it is a tree able to hold all the birds of creation, or or a fishing net able to hold every type of fish, is modest and not there for some false awe. Even a pearl, as precious and beautiful enough to sell everything to attain, still sits in the palm of a hand and without a pair or string is neither an earring or a necklace.
Jesus offers these images of the kingdom which remind us that what we are looking for a can only be glimpsed, but when we perceive even the tiniest part of the kingdom it can become the focus of our whole existence. Because it will ultimately be the only true existence. And however small and insignificant it seems it will transform us and all those who get drawn into it, to make us ever more in the image of Christ.
We can get hung up on the idea that we then need to do the building or the transforming ourselves. But much as Solomon recognised as he was being put on the throne that he was wholly dependent on God for his wisdom and discernment, much like the Spirit who intercedes for us, much like the mustard seed that grows thanks to the nurturing of the sun and the yeast which leavens the bread with the warmth of the air, the kingdom grows because God makes it so. What we need to do then, is be ready to see it, and be prepared to be transformed by it. To give of who we are to be a part of it. And if we loose sight of it, to remain faithful to the God who loves us so much that nothing can separate us from that love, or the kingship that comes with it.
For not death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
The Reverend Robin Sims-Williams
8.00am Morning Prayer in the lady chapel
10.00am Parish Eucharist with choir and Sunday School
Christian Meditation Wednesdays at 9.10am
Said Eucharist on Wednesdays at 11.00am
Monday through Thursday at 5.30pm
Please note that Public worship has been suspended, you can therefore participate in these services via Facebook live stream
Eating together is important for us all, for our families and our friends, it is over a meal where we have the time to listen to each other and it is over food that we find a common need to nourish ourselves.
I found this box on a shelf. It’s a bit old, you can tell it’s been around for a while, it’s been bumped here and scratched there. It’s not easy to open. But it’s also clearly precious, with golden inlay. And it smells nice.
Where it made sense we needed to emulate others who we saw were good at what they did, and who did things we wanted to do.
Our Christian faith calls us to be forensic in our own self-examination.