Sunday, July 27, 2014

God's Treasures

Jesus put before the crowds another parable: "The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that someone took and sowed in his field; it is the smallest of all the seeds, but when it has grown it is the greatest of shrubs 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 yeast that a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour until all of it was leavened."

"The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which someone found and hid; then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.

"Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls; on finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it.

"Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was thrown into the sea and caught fish of every kind; when it was full, they drew it ashore, sat down, and put the good into baskets but threw out the bad. So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous and throw them into the furnace of fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
"Have you understood all this?" They answered, "Yes." And he said to them, "Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like the master of a household who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old." Matthew 13:31-33,44-52

I had the extraordinary blessing of being in Philadelphia Friday and Saturday as people across the Episcopal Church gathered to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the ordination of women. These were "irregular" ordinations in 1974. Eleven brave women (4 more were ordained in DC in the fall of 1974) laid their lives on the lines for all those who would follow behind them. It was an extraordinary event, and I was brought to tears over and over again, by seeing dear ones, young and old alike, as we were thanking God for where we have been. We were also challenging one another to be seed and treasure for those who follow after us.

Jesus wanted us to understand how often the most extraordinary blessing is found in the smallest of seeds, and hidden away among the most" irregular" of circumstances. If we love boldly, we will find God's treasures in our midst. The places  and people on the margin often bring the most fruit and the outcast and frail bring forth the most blessing and strength. We are invited by God today to rejoice in the blessings we have been given and seek God's abundance in the out of the way, overlooked places.

Today I ask God to help me turn my heart and mind to the hidden blessings, to the treasures that I might not see on the near horizon. May we never lose hope, as God is using us to bless those around us, and to be strength and support for those who follow behind.

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