Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed. . .

A mustard seed is considered by Jesus' contemporaries the smallest of seeds. The kingdom, Jesus is saying, is not like a palatial paradise but a small seed. It is like a mustard plant, not like a tall sequoia or a powerful oak. Jesus (according to our standards) apparently knows nothing of marketing strategies or attractive packaging, for he markets his kingdom in the little spiritual paradox called a mustard seed.

Why does a mustard seed attract comparison to the kingdom of God? Because for Jesus the kingdom is about the ordinariness of loving God and loving others. The kingdom is as common as sparrows, as earthy as backyard bushes, as routine as breakfast coffee, and as normal as aging. He hallows the ordinary act of love, making it extraordinary. Instead of finding it in the majestic, Jesus sees God's kingdom in the mundane. The kingdom of God is the transforming presence of God in ordinary humans who live out the Jesus Creed*.

Quote from Scot McKnight, The Jesus Creed: Loving God, Loving Others (Brewster, MA: Paraclete Press, 2004) pp. 135-6

*The "Jesus Creed" is Mark 12:29-31 (see also Matt. 22:37-39)

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