Sunday, July 30, 2017


seed, yeast, treasure, and pearl

A man sows seed in a field. It starts small, but grows.

A woman hides yeast in a big batch of flour, but it shows itself: it causes the whole batch to rise.

A man discovers that a field holds a treasure and quickly quietly giddily goes to buy that field and claim the treasure.

Equally foolishly a businessman liquidates his assets to devote all his resources to the acquisition of a single pearl.

Two children lean over a basin and get their hair wet.

Yet somehow all these people with their outrageous gestures of abandonment to joy find themselves fulfilled far beyond the dreams of avarice.

The little bitty seed outgrows all expectations and furnishes the nesting place for birds of all the air.

The little leaven is enough to season ⅔ of a bushel - plenty of bread for everybody. (Is this one of Jesus’ lakeside feasts?)

These two clever fellows with their secret deals - a treasure in a field, a pearl of great price - outmaneuver themselves, right out of the market, for now they have nothing - nothing but the one thing that matters above all else.

Leaving the rest behind, they find that one perfect pearl, that seed of a great tree, that hidden hoard of unreasoned happiness, that overwhelming blessing of bread, that redeems all of life.

The one thing that matters.

For hidden in all these parables is the one true thing that makes all else make sense: the same thing that two little kids are dedicated to today: following Jesus.

That is what the kingdom of heaven means: a way of living that makes sense of life.

And behind it is an unbreakable promise by the maker of all things:

I will never leave you. I will never stop loving you.

In the midst of your worst trials and tribulations, your greatest loves and greatest fears, I will stay by your side.

That is God’s promise to all of us: that now that we have called upon him,
Nothing can separate us from the love of the Eternal One. Nothing is that strong.

And so the stamp is indelible. The watermark is unerasable. The oil stain cannot be washed out.

You are marked as Christ’s own for ever.

July 30, 2017.
Eighth Sunday after Pentecost.
Proper 12, Year A.

Romans 8:26-39
Matthew 13:31-33, 44-46

The Parable of the Mustard Seed. (31-32)
The Parable of the Yeast. (33)
The Parable of the treasure hidden in a field. (44)
The Pearl of Great Price (45-46).

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