In today’s gospel reading, a phrase caught my eye: “the kingdom of heaven is near”. I am certainly no biblical scholar, but I understand from reading some of them that the concept “the kingdom of Heaven,” or its parallel, “the kingdom of God,” has been assigned a wide spectrum of meanings by various theologians and scholars through the millennia. One of those possible meanings has interested me lately.
It is the sense that the kingdom is always near, and yet always still coming. It would seem that its arriving is never completed. It is always among us, especially as we gather and endeavor to live as Christ taught and modeled, and as the Holy Spirit leads. But there’s always more. The Creator of a universe billions of light years wide, who holds each of the atoms and quarks and who knows what else in place, never stops creating. He never stops the blossoming entrance of the Kingdom into the lives of His children.
That kind of creativity appeals to me. It awakens my hope. It reminds me of resurrection. The mustard seed grows into the full plant… and that plant has more seeds. If we remain in Him, we will bear much fruit. And in His hands, our lives will continually, creatively, fantastically blossom in ever-new ways.
But we need to abide. We need to return. The closer we allow ourselves to be drawn to the Father of beauty and truth, over and over again, the more we put ourselves in a place to witness Him continuing to bring near His ever-blossoming kingdom. One of the ways we do this is that, every week, every opportunity we get, we accept His invitation to this table. The Son of God, like a seed, was buried. And God raised Him from the dead, alive, that He might bloom, that He might scatter more seed, and that the Kingdom might continue to be, and to enter, continually and again.
For this is what the Lord himself said, and I pass it on to you just as I received it. On the night when he was betrayed, the Lord Jesus took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, "This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me." In the same way, he took the cup of wine after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant between God and you, sealed by the shedding of my blood. Do this in remembrance of me as often as you drink it." For every time you eat this bread and drink this cup, you are announcing the Lord's death until Jesus comes again.
The plant needs to be watered. The roots need to be fed. And in the ecosystem of the kingdom of heaven, plants that need each other and feed each other come near to each other, to benefit each other’s blossoming. One of many ways we offer sustenance to each other and to the Kingdom is by pouring our funds into this community’s purse. Be generous, and watch the Kingdom ever-grow.