Living in the kingdom

Eighth Sunday after Pentecost; 26 July 2020; Proper 12A (RCL); Genesis 29:15-28; Psalm 105:1-11, 45b; Romans 8:26-39; Matthew 13:31-33, 44-52.

The wonderful thing about parables is that they are so multivalent. There is not single meaning. We have a string of parables here (and one limiting interpretation to one of them), and then an instruction about how to teach.

The parable of the mustard seed includes a bit of humor. Mustard is a scrappy weed. It is not a well-shaped tree, and at least in some varieties, will take over a field if left alone. And when Jesus says that it provides shelter for the birds of the air, he is comparing it to the cedars of Lebanon, a majestic tree, often used as a symbol for empire in the Old Testament.

Continue reading “Living in the kingdom”

Apprenticed to the kingdom

30 July 2017
Eighth Sunday after Pentecost
Proper 12A (RCL)
Genesis 29:15-28
Psalm 105:1-11, 45b
Romans 8:26-39
Matthew 13:31-33, 44-52

The trouble with chopping up readings from scripture is that we miss important contextual guides. In today’s Gospel reading, the first two parables are spoken to the crowds. Then we skip the verses where Jesus goes in the house and explains the parable of the wheat and the weeds to the disciples. The last three parables, and the instructions are spoken only to the disciples in the house — these are community instructions, while the first two are public proclamation. That changes the interpretation of each parable rather dramatically. Continue reading “Apprenticed to the kingdom”