Reflection: July 30

Published on Jul 30th, 2017 by Rev. Carol Prochaska (Ret) | 0

Scripture: Matthew 13:31-33, 44-52

Kindom Moments in Our Lives.
                ~Rev. Carol Prochaska

The Greek word is basileia (bas-il-l-ah). We’ve known it as the kingdom of God or the kingdom of heaven. This Greek word has also been translated as God’s realm, God’s reign, God’s empire, God’s commonwealth, and God’s kindom. It has also been described as God’s Presence God’s Power God’s Purpose.

Jesus’ parables about the kindom of heaven were drawn from the common experience of those to whom he spoke. The images point to God’s encounters with people in the midst of everyday living. This morning it is a farmer, a baker, a treasure hunter, a pearl merchant, and those who fish for a living. The commonwealth of heaven is a happening. It is a God-kind of happening through ordinary people in every day occurrences. The kindom of heaven is like the little girl from our story, Ribbon Rescue, who shared her ribbons so that something good happened.

Gladys lives in small town Nebraska. It could just as well be small town Saskatchewan.
She and Don, her bank president husband, live on an ordinary street in a three bedroom bungalow. They are the parents of 4 year-old twin boys. Occasionally Gladys fills in as church secretary at their Baptist Church. In the past six months Gladys has frequently been alone.

Don’s banking hours have been increasing to the point he is at home less and less. Added to this loneliness, Gladys is grieving the loss of her next-door neighbors. Before they moved away, this older couple from her church, had been like parents to her and grandparents to the twins. Her new next-door neighbors are two men, who reportedly, had been married in the local United Church of Christ. Now Gladys isn’t one to judge. But in her view, there isn’t any need for her to associate with these two new neighbors.

There comes the day when the world Gladys has known crashes. Her husband informs her that he is in love with Tessie, a young bank teller. He moves out to live with this new love.

Gladys has done her best to get through the days, but on this particular morning she just can’t seem to move. It is 10:30. The boys, in their pajamas, are outside in the front yard playing with the hose. They are creating little rivers that are flowing onto the sidewalk and down the street. Gladys sits in crumpled sadness.

Suddenly the wet and muddy boys tear through the front door shouting, “Look Mom! We’ve got cookies! And here’s Ben! Here’s Ben our next-door neighbor!” And indeed! There in her kitchen is Ben! He sits down at her table, smiles, introduces himself, and offers her a coffee and a cookie. He listens. She cries. He listens some more. He helps the boys find dry clothes.

As he leaves he tells Gladys that supper is in the crock-pot and he will bring it over later.

Little did Gladys know that when she prayed for God’s kingdom to come on earth it would look like this! God’s kindom is a heavenly happening through ordinary people.    

Jesus’ parables give us opportunity to trust that God-happenings can begin like a tiny mustard seed. God’s in-breaking is like yeast mixed in flour and seemingly not even there – until the dough rises and the presence and the power and the purpose of the yeast become apparent. Still! When it comes to our participation in God’s kindom, there are those times when even our best efforts seem unproductive.

Teachers are among those who are familiar with seemingly fruitless efforts. How many teachers can tell a story of the kid who leaves homework undone at home, has misplaced a needed textbook, can’t find a pen to write an exam, and whose permission slip for the field trip is still somewhere in a crammed-full locker. But from September to June teachers don’t give up. And! Years later this same kid, now an adult, has a Masters in Social Work, works in a local counselling agency, coaches a soccer team, and has just returned from building a house with Habitat for Humanity. There it is! There is God’s presence God’s power God’s purpose apparent in this adult whose life was influenced by teachers who not only cared but would not give up. Our efforts – small as they may be, as fruitless as they may appear, in time can become bigger and more significant than we could imagine.

This morning we heard God speaking to us through the Apostle Paul’s letter to the church in Rome. We were reminded that “God makes everything work together, for the good of those who love God, and have been called, according to God’s purpose.” We love God. We are the called. We have ribbons to share. Therefore we invest in new ways of imagining human existence. We are among those who see that what we do matters. We are among those who know that God’s kindom is a heavenly happening through ordinary people just like ourselves.      

Speaking of ordinary – In your minds, picture with me a one year old sitting in a high chair.  She is mastering the art of eating. This time it’s chocolate pudding. How much chocolate pudding has actually entered into her stomach is really hard to tell. Her face and even her ears are covered with chocolate pudding. Her hair is mostly chocolate. There’s chocolate up to her elbows. Her smile is chocolate! We smile!

We smile because we see something that is delightful and at the same time difficult to put into words. I think that’s like God’s in-breaking, God’s kindom. It’s a heavenly happening through ordinary people and it brings forth smiles.    

 

 

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