Seeking and Finding

Matthew 13:44-46      7.26.20

                A parable is a short story.  They are almost always about every-day things…farming, baking, fishing, planning a party.  Because they are so short, they are easy to remember.  Some are just a sentence.  Jesus uses them a lot—he works stories into his teaching in order to create for his listeners in any time and place a receptivity to God and God’s reign in our lives and in our world.    As we make our way through this pandemic of a deadly virus and come face to face with the longterm, simmering pandemic of racism in this country, my hope is that we can find some teachings in the parables that offer us encouragement and hope for the living of these days.  Our day to day activities have been changed.  Our ways of connecting with one another have been altered.  Yet we find in the scriptures stories which call to us wherever we are and whatever our current condition might be. 

Today’s two short parables are part of this parable packed chapter of Matthew’s gospel, sandwiched in, little glimpses of what Jesus means by the reign of the heavens, or the reign of God.  Matthew wrote to a mainly Jewish audience, and it was not considered respectful to mention God’s name aloud.  So he refers not to the kingdom of God (which is used in Luke’s gospel), but the kingdom of heaven, or the reign of heaven, knowing that all his listeners would understand the meaning of the term—the realm where God is in charge, whether in this world or in the next.  The reign of the heavens is the same as the kingdom of God.  Jesus lived in a time when people were fed up with their government, with generations having lived under the heavy hand of Roman rule.  Any hope of a different ruler, a different realm, would be exciting, enticing and encouraging indeed.   His words echo through the centuries into our ears today.

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