Ever since I first came across it I have been moved by the inscription that Carl Jung had on the doorway of his home. It reads, “Bidden or unbidden, God is present”! The maxim captures the same mystical, mischievous, dimension of God’s self revelation, God’s grace, in the forms of everyday events. Jesus was acutely attentive to that epiphany reality in his life and it flowed into his teaching.
 
pearl-of-great-priceJesus taught that the Kingdom of God , the Divine Domain, is like… a minute micron of a mustard seed; a secreted treasure that is stumbled on while striding in a field; a precious pearl worth purchasing with your entire portfolio of provisions; a net straining with every kind of fish imaginable, so large a catch that you have to sift through it to get the good (and sustainable?) ones. Each learner of life has a treasure out of which we can skilfully select and bring forth the best for the world.
 
What I love about this teaching on the theme of God’s surprise manifestations, is that in most cases the human response comes after the surprise. Because God surprises us we don’t have to contrive and control the conditions. In short we can’t make the miracle happen!
 
It is a miracle that the miniature mustard seed makes it through the prodigal sowing, and weed ridden wheat field of the past two weeks lectionary readings; but it does, and thrives. The surprise of the treasure, the pearl, the fish catch all precede , the work of converting ownership of one kind for the consolation of a Kingdom investment. In other words, we respond to grace we don’t bring it into being.
 
How wonderful to realize that we really didn’t make much happen. When we try too hard we tend to butcher it. We are at our best, when we allow life to surprise us, and then respond to grace in gratitude and in giving.
 
 

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  1. As in the past few weeks, today’s celebration offers many images for the reign of God rooted in everyday experience, a reminder that the kingdom is always at our doorstep if we can but discern its presence. It is, however, coming to fullness within us as well…..

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