Monday, February 03, 2014

The Kingdom of Heaven Is Like...

Monroe County

I'm enjoying Francis Spufford's Unapologetic: Why, Despite Everything, Christianity Still Makes Surprising Emotional Sense. Spufford writes, as the book moves along, of Jesus and the kingdom of God. We get glimpses of the kingdom in Jesus' parables, which often begin "The kingdom of heaven is like..." 

"Yeshua's kingdom apparently exists in ever-changing resembances. [Jesus] does not say what it is, only what it is like." (124)

It's like a tiny seed.

It's like a big tree.

Like something inside you.

Like a pearl you'd give everything to possess. 

Like wheat growing among weeds. 

Like the camel climbing through the needle’s eye. 

Like the way the world looks to children. 

Like a servant making good use of the master’s money. 

Like getting a day’s pay for an hour’s work. 

Like a crooked magistrate, who has fixed the case in your favor. 

Like a narrow gate, 

a difficult road, 

a lamp on a stand. Like a wedding party. 

Like a wedding party where all the original guests have been disinvited and replaced by random passers-by. 

Like yeast in dough. 

Like a treasure, 

like a harvest, 

like a door that opens whenever you knock. 

Or like a door you have to bang on for hours in the middle of the night until a grumpy neighbor wakes up and lends you a loaf. 

The kingdom is— whatever all those likenesses have in common.

- p. 125 

Spufford writes:

The kingdom, [Jesus] seems to be saying, is something that can only be glimpsed in comparisons, because the world contains no actual example of it. And yet the world glints and winks and shines everywhere with the possibility of it. Which is not exactly what you’d call a manifesto. (Ib.)