Looking Forward to Sunday: The Divine Ordinary

Rev. Daniel Eggold

Jul 20, 2020

Readings:

Deuteronomy 7:6–9; Psalm 125; Romans 8:28–39; Matthew 13:44–52

In a church in Melbourne, Australia, are stained glass windows depicting two of today’s parables, the treasure hidden in a field and the pearl of great value.

     As we make our way through Matthew’s gospel, we often hear Jesus say, “The kingdom of heaven is like . . .” He uses everyday items and experiences to give us a glimpse of God’s realm. Today as you stand for the reading of the gospel, God will use the voice of someone you know (your pastor, perhaps) to proclaim some comparisons Jesus made to the kingdom of heaven: a mustard seed, yeast, a merchant in search of beautiful pearls.

     Our Lord says the kingdom of heaven is like things we already know and understand. It’s like someone giving a wedding banquet (Matt. 22:2), a fishing net (Matt. 13:47), a gardener sowing seeds (Matt. 13:3). Instead of saying the kingdom is divine and far beyond our understanding, Jesus offers stories of ordinary things, pointing to how God’s will is revealed in them.

     Look around your worship space before the service. Whom or what has God brought you today that is like the kingdom of heaven? Is a retired man teaching a middle-schooler how to carry the top-heavy cross down the aisle? Are there people who use walkers alongside young ones who skip everywhere they go? Perhaps a newly widowed woman has new seatmates who don’t want her sitting alone.

     Jesus compares the kingdom of heaven to ordinary things because we live most often in everyday moments and spaces. Again and again, he invites us to find the divine in the day-to-day, to glimpse the eternal in the temporal, and to recognize God’s image in a stranger’s face.

     As worship begins, let yourself notice the altogether ordinary things God is using to reveal the kingdom in this place: human voices, handshakes, hugs, music, musicians, books, water, wine, bread. In the coming week, what might God use to reveal the kingdom in your home, your workplace, your school, or other spaces you inhabit?

Prayer

Beloved and sovereign God, through the death and resurrection of your Son you bring us into your kingdom of justice and mercy. By your Spirit, give us your wisdom, that we may treasure the life that comes from Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen.