Dear Church Family,
In worship we have been looking at the descriptions Jesus gives of the kingdom of heaven. So our scripture today is portions of those descriptions from Matthew 13:
“Jesus presented another parable to them, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field…The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed…is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three pecks of flour…is like a merchant seeking fine pearls…is like a dragnet cast into the sea and gathering fish of every kind…’”
Many years ago I started seeing crosses everywhere. I don’t just mean I noticed them around people’s necks, although of course I did see them there. I mean I noticed them everywhere: the way telephone poles, at a certain angle, look like a cross; the way the tile grout forms a cross on the floor of a public bathroom.
I did say “everywhere,” right?!
It seemed like all kinds of ordinary places had crosses in their design. Since I am not very good about maintaining rigorous spiritual disciplines, I began to turn these sightings into my own discipline of sorts. Whenever I would see a cross somewhere unexpected I would take that opportunity to pray. Sometimes I would take it as the reminder to be silent and listen for God for the next two minutes. Little moments, yes, but they became important reminders to connect with God.
I have always believed that Jesus used ordinary things to describe the kingdom of heaven because he wanted to take something everyone knew about and then flip it so they saw the world differently. And I still think that is true. But I have also come to believe that Jesus used ordinary and everyday things to describe God’s kingdom because he wanted constant reminders of his teaching. He wanted his disciples to see a farmer in a field and not be able to separate that everyday vision with his teaching about God. He wanted a mustard tree to transport people to the amazing power their faith can have. I believe Jesus used the ordinary because he knew we would always encounter it and, in encountering it, we would be called back to him.
Over and over again.
Jesus is showing us that our spiritual lives do not need to be highfalutin or pie-in-the-sky. Our spiritual lives should intersect, build upon, and elevate our everyday moments. That is when a field along the highway becomes an opportunity to pray, and a loaf of fresh bread becomes a chance to remember, and a cross in the tile floor an experience of grace.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, may your teaching intersect my life today. Maybe you will meet me in a meal or in a person or in traffic. However you do it, I pray that the ordinary parts of my life would become a chance to hear you again. And, hearing, to know you better. It is in your name that I pray. Amen.
Christ’s Peace Be With You All,