Thursday, June 11, 2015

His kingdom, his way, growing in us.

The parables of the seeds are the focus this week. Farming and the best practices might be a model for Church growth. Maybe. Nevertheless, there is something more important that we need to consider here than the usual. For example, Jesus talks about the “sporous” or spores that need to be planted.  We translate the word sporous as seed in the Gospel (Mark 4.26-35) but in fact, we are talking this week about some things that are the smallest things in the plant kingdom, that we they reach their fullness are, in their various ways something to behold.

For example, spores are microscopic and need to protect by other plant life. Unlike a seed, they are unicellular and they must hide on the underside of leaves and move around as the wind blows them. And unlike seeds, they are not multifaceted things, with internal resources to draw upon. But you might wonder knowing about plant life has to do with the Gospel and preaching this week. Quite a bit actually.

Parables tell us about God and his nature, who he is and what he does. The parables of the seeds shows us that God loves to take the little things, things that we discount or cannot see and make them count for something. He can cause them to grow into things that we could not have imagined and would not have planned to have happen if we could have conceived of it. So is the nature of the kingdom of God. It is here on earth and in earth (us) and the kingdom is growing. One of the things that we often miss in the Church is that the community that is the Church, like the kingdom that is to come in God’s time, is built to grow. We are not responsible for its growth. We are only expected to participate in its life. We are meant to plant seeds and water the earth to help provide the right conditions for growth but we cannot make what we plant grow. As St. Paul points out to the Corinthian Church,

What then is Apollos? And what is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, even as the Lord gave opportunity to each one. I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth. So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth.” (1 Cor. 3:5-7 ESV).

As Christians and as Christian community, we are called to participate in the kingdom that is in the world and in our lives and bodies through putting our trust in God and live our faith in the present tense. We need to do this because the presence of the kingdom of God in this world is a direct threat to the powers and principalities, dominions and princedoms that are in this world. The presence of the living God and his kingdom is slowly but inextricably growing in such a way as to crowd out and choke out all the other powers and places that would take his people away from him.

We can participate in the growth but we need to recognize that it is God who makes things grow and who gives the harvest in its due time. We need to concern ourselves with being the tool in the hands of the living God, sharp and ready for the next task. We need to be about the business of the king. We need to choose to live lives that are dedicated and consecrated to the kingdom. This means we are given solely to the goals of the kingdom and not to another purpose while recognizing that we are giving ourselves completely to God. To recognize that we actively pray for God’s will to be done “on earth (in earth) as it is in heaven.” Being consecrated to the kingdom also means that we chose to have no happiness, no w well being and no salvation other that what is given in the kingdom through the divine community of the Church. What should make each of us happy as believers and followers is the welfare of the community of followers of the Lord Jesus.  

So there is a challenge that St. Paul offered to the Corinthians that I will offer to you: Follow me as I follow Christ. The life of a follower of the Lord Jesus is a life that is meant to be lived in community with shared gifts and shared joys – something that goes well beyond personal appetites and satisfactions. And remember it’s not about us. It is about God and his will to bring us kingdom. It is Christ’s prayer and ours too.


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