Saturday, October 29, 2011

Compassion Rising

He put another parable before them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his field. It is the smallest of all seeds, but when it has grown it is larger than all the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.” He told them another parable. “The kingdom of heaven is like leaven that a woman took and hid in three measures of flour, till it was all leavened.” All these things Jesus said to the crowds in parables; indeed, he said nothing to them without a parable. This was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet: “I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter what has been hidden since the foundation of the world.” Matthew 13:31-35

The other night I was watching the evening news and there was a report that the economy was improving. And then they spoke of how many Americans were unemployed and the number made me realize that almost every family is affected by someone they know unemployed. It hit me hard. All the cranky and difficult people have encountered in the past weeks might just be suffering in ways I cannot imagine. Their pain might just make them drive badly and respond rudely. So many are hurting, and I can either respond in like kind or spread a little kindness and compassion. And I can always pray.

Jesus continues with stories and metaphors for the reign of God. He wants us to understand that there is limitless capacity in each of us by the grace God. This loving creator has breathed life into us and through Christ given us the power to be sons and daughters. We are imbued with the pregnant possibility of being mustard and yeast for the world, given the spirit to offer compassion in the face of pain, kindness in the face of anger, and gentleness in the face of violence.

Today, as storms of all kinds surround us, I ask God to help me be leaven for God, an active participant in spreading love and forgiveness rather than judgement and criticism. May we, who followed the one who suffered and died for all humanity, live with that kind of compassion and tenderness that brings about the reign of God in our time.

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