Psalm 61, 62; Neh. 12:27-31a,42b-47; Rev. 11:1-19; Matt. 13:44-52
A treasure in a field. A perfect pearl in a pile of duds. A net sweeping up all sorts of flotsam, jetsam and fish. Seeds cast onto soil, a woman hunting for lost coins, a wedding feast boycotted by the social pages and attended by all the wrong people, yeast hidden in a barrel of flour (wrong place to hide yeast, if you really want it to stay hidden!), an old woman looking for her lost social security check, mustard seeds that turn into trees. That’s the Kingdom, friends: familiar and yet shocking, not quite what we expect and exceeding all expectations. It’s near at hand! It’s within you!
Jesus talks a lot about the Kingdom. That’s probably what gets Him executed: the Romans take Him at face value, and they have the only king anyone can acknowledge. But it’s not a kingdom with a cabinet and a parliament and foreign policy that He’s interested in. It’s the ability of God, and God’s people, to work within this mundane ordinary world–fields, mustard, yeast, coins, fish–and still be shocked into wonder, into new effort, into spontaneous joy. The Kingdom isn’t out there: it’s here at hand. The tools are the same as the ones we misuse for our own temporary and selfish purposes, only turned to eternal and selfless ends. And often enough, like in that yeast hidden in far too much flour, the Kingdom works itself out without us even helping it along.
How do we live in the Kingdom? Well, friends, we go looking for it. It’s all around us, but if we’re not looking we’ll only see the mundane and ordinary, not the glimmer of glory that shimmers around its evocative edge. And having missed it, we’ll miss out on it as it grows up around us. So be looking. In the boring and tiresome and sometimes frankly irritable interactions at work. In the this-again of family life, fighting yet another squabble with the kids over homework and bed times. In the chemo chair, the guy who comes to a dead stop before turning on his blinker to make an unopposed right hand turn ahead of you, the sunrise, the repetition of Scripture read and re-read these thousands of years and hundreds of thousands of days. Seek, and ye might perhaps find, that’s the Kingdom which He proclaimed is right there in front of your eyes, a source of joy you’d never expected to find on a grey and blustery day.