Pastor’s Pen July 19, 2017

“The Kingdom of God will be like this…”   Matthew 25:1

         I still recall the winter I drove up to the mountains in a blizzard, and slid forty-five degrees into a snow bank before I could make it up my driveway. It was ten o’clock at night, and when I got out of the car to assess the situation, the house keys slipped from my hands into a snow bank, leaving me stranded in my own driveway a mile from the nearest house.

         There wasn’t a soul out that blustery night, so I started walking up the middle of the highway to keep my bearings, singing church hymns to give me courage. I stopped at the first house I came to, knowing the occupants were either already asleep or not at home. A neighbor I didn’t know well came to the door in his pajamas, and stared out into the raging wind, as if I were a vision from some other planet.

         The Kingdom of God will be like this. My neighbor got dressed, plowed his drive and took me to shelter some distance away. He waited at the door to make sure I was safely inside, and then called me when he got home to make sure everything was all right.

         Jesus frequently told parables to the disciples to help them understand what the Kingdom of God was like. He used ordinary examples they would understand from their daily experience, about coins, and bread, and mustard seed. He used parables to reveal to them the nature of God, who wishes to free us from anxiety, help us to be wise, teach us to forgive, show us how to be merciful to those who suffer, and lift up the weak, the disempowered, the poor and the oppressed. Jesus wanted us to understand that when we’re vulnerable, lost and afraid, God is ever present to guide our path out of the storm, and when necessary provides helpers to take us there.

         Jesus was just as clear about what the Kingdom of God is not. In the wild west, miners and cowboys alike had to check their weapons at the door to the church. In the Kingdom of God there’s no room for violence, no space for pride, gossip and greed. Selfish desire had to be left at the coat check. Disregard for the vulnerable, left behind.

         Imagine just now that Jesus is with you in your office or living room as you read this. Look around at the ordinary objects within your grasp. Listen just so, and you will hear the voice of Jesus telling you a story about something as near to you as breathing, to help you understand that the Kingdom of God is even now, at hand for you.

Prayer: God of heaven and earth, give us eyes to see and ears to hear your word among us, for your Kingdom of God is near to us as breathing. Amen

God’s grace, mercy and peace,

Pastor Anna V. Copeland