Tuesday, July 27, 2010

How To Create Parables

Jesus said the kingdom of heaven – that is, the realm within which God’s rule is exercised; where permission is given to healing and wholeness, forgiveness and restoration, where joy springs up in the place of grief and gladness in the place of sorrow – is like treasure hidden in a field. Someone comes along and discovers it, hides it again, goes off and sells his possessions, and buys the field from its owner.

There was treasure in the field all along, and the owner of the field was not aware of it.

In other words, the kingdom of heaven is present in our lives, and we can be unaware of its presence, or we can actively look for it. That is, in the stuff of our daily lives – in our work, in our domestic routines, in the mundane things – we can encounter the kingdom, can experience something of God’s good rule.

Almost all of Jesus’ parables work on this basis: that our everyday lives reveal something of what God is like and what he is doing in the world, if we have eyes to see and ears to hear.

When Jesus says, a woman kneading yeast into dough or a peasant sowing the seed that will provide his family with food and bargaining-power come the harvest tells us something about God’s presence right there in our lives, he is not making a one-off illustration. He is saying, every time you knead dough or scatter seed from now on, these routines are to remind you of God. Every time you eat this bread and drink this cup, remember me...

The kingdom of heaven is hidden in the field, in the dough, in the fill-in-the-gap of our lives, waiting to be discovered, and re-discovered over and over again.

I wrote about this approach to life recently: here, here, here and here.

So, what are you doing today, and tomorrow, and day after day?

And how can it become a way in which you remind yourself of God’s presence in your life?

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