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The Chalice
Thursday, June 13 2024



The Kingdom of God

Things are not always what they seem!

This week, we will ponder anew what God’s Kingdom looks like. I can only imagine what it might look like to you, but there are certainly times when I wish God’s Kingdom on earth would be a place of total predictability. If I do A and God does B, then every time I do “A” God will do “B.”  If I pray for healing, God heals – immediately and in a way that I can totally understand and just as I would expect it to look like.

When I think of God’s Kingdom, I also want to see God as doing impressive and spectacular things – I want to be able to understand what’s going on. When life gets hard, I want to better understand what’s happening. In other words, when life gets hard, God at least provides decent answers to the “why?” questions, instead of leaving me to flounder in the unknown.

But my ideal is not God’s.

The prophet Ezekiel saw that his nation had abandoned the path of God. It’s wealthy rulers showed no compassion for the poor whom they continually oppressed. Ezekiel prophesied that his nation would be destroyed because of its corruption and sure enough that is what happened. While in exile in Babylon, Ezekiel told is people that God would preserve a remnant of the tree of Israel and nurture it so it would bear fruit. God would restore the way of justice and mercy so that the nation would become a beloved community. All those formerly oppressed would be lifted high. A kingdom of compassion and love.

By the time we get to Mark’s Gospel – over six hundred years have passed since God restored Judah to a place of compassion and love and it seems as if God’s people have totally forgotten Ezekiel’s prophetic words – which by the way, were pretty radical. And like Ezekiel, Jesus too has a message that is radical – so radical that he resorts to parables to get his point across.

In the first parable Jesus tells in this week’s Gospel, a gardener scatters seed on the ground, and then goes off to sleep. The seeds fend for themselves, and when the grain is ripe, the gardener harvests it. In the second parable, someone sows a tiny mustard seed in the ground, and it grows into a gigantic bush, large enough to offer birds shelter in its branches.

Both parables are meant to show us what the kingdom of God looks like. Parables are intended to stretch our imaginations far beyond any place we’d take them on our own. Not to keep us comfortable and complacent, but to prod and needle us into altogether different ways of perceiving and relating to what is sacred. What’s the kingdom of God? Are you sure you want to know? Okay, get ready for the mystery to unravel: the kingdom of God is like a sleeping gardener, mysterious soil, an invasive weed, and a nuisance flock of birds. 

As you prepare for Sunday’s service, take a look at the scriptures in advance. Ponder some of these questions:

  • How is the Kingdom of God growing within you?
  • How do you see the Kingdom of God growing around you?
  • How is the kingdom of God ripening among us at St. John’s? Do you have your sickle?

In Christ's love,
Deacon Claire

Posted by: Rev. Claire D. Mis, Deacon AT 01:36 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
St. John's Episcopal Church
12 Prospect St. | Huntington, NY 11743 | PH: (631) 427-1752
Sunday Services at 8 AM and 10 AM
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