AM Psalm 63:1-8(9-11), 98 PM Psalm 103
“The kingdom of Heaven is like…”
Our Gospel reading today brings up an interesting mystery. Have you ever noticed that Jesus never comes out and says what the kingdom of Heaven IS? The best he does is to give us an analogy, which puts us in the spot where all we can do is answer back in an analogy.
So here’s mine…
“The kingdom of Heaven is like my Little Eddie dog, when he tries to hoard all his dog toys, but he knows the one he’ll most enjoy playing with me. Once he makes his choice, he knows he won’t be able to hold on to the other toys…and ultimately, it’s not about the toys at all. It’s about the relationship.”
These are uncomfortable parables in Matthew, because they reveal a most uncomfortable version of the triangle relationship–us, God, and our stuff. Triangle relationships are difficult. The triangle is both the simplest stable geometric form, but yet the most unstable geometric form in terms of its propensity to be lopsided…and of course, when the choice is between God and our stuff, our tendency is to lean toward the safety of our stuff, and to hold onto our stuff more tightly. We say things like, “I can’t afford to tithe AND give to my favorite secular charities.” “I can’t afford to pledge AND give to a building campaign.” I can’t find the time to take on a new ministry AND work the hours I need to work to pay the bills.”
Unhealthy triangle relationships create a world of either/or when the truth is, it can be a world of both/and, if we are willing to take a leap of faith and make a choice that ultimately, it’s the relationship that matters.
Now, I’ll be the first to tell you, I’m not there yet. So much of who God calls me to be, still creates a tense dynamic about my relationship with my stuff. But what I can say is this: Every time I give up a little more of the stuff, it feels more stable, even when the world is yelling in my ear that it’s supposed to feel unstable. I don’t think any of us ever quite get there, but I think we can at least get to a place where we can see how things have changed for us over time.
What changes for us when we focus on the relationship rather than the stuff?
Maria Evans, a surgical pathologist from Kirksville, MO, writes about the obscurities of life, medicine, faith, and the Episcopal Church on her blog, Kirkepiscatoid