July 27, 2014
Matthew 13:31-33, 44-52
Romans 8:26-39
Genesis 29:15-28


Kingdom ambiguities
Proper 12 | OT 17

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David Coffin
So a person believes they have gotten a job or are active in a community that calls itself "Christian." Is this place a snapshot of the Kingdom of God (or Heaven as St. Matthew calls it), or are we all in process of becoming the "Kingdom of God?" Today's texts provide ambiguities of how God's kingdom comes together with varying personalities and concerns.

One can identify a joker, or trickster in a given organization. We wonder, "When will this person ever grow up?" But then we see God's hand at work when this same person reaps what he or she sows because of their tricks, white lies or secretive stunts comes to haunt them. This is the world of Jacob in Genesis 29. But there are other people at work within the organization also.

There might be a person who always seems to have bad luck in life. They might as well have Murphy's Law written above their desk, "If anything can go wrong it will go wrong -- at the worst possible time." To such a person Paul in Romans addresses folks who are one of the "elect." To be "elected" by God is not exclusively about "privilege," but about trials in life. So where is God? Romans 8:31-19 is read at tragic events. Yet, Romans 8:28 can be used in a flippant, dismissive way or a caring manner.

Then we have the person is who always on the search for something in life that is more fulfilling. This person might say, "I am sorry but I do not find my identity or fulfillment working in this organization... I need something more to feel my life has meaning." Such a person can take counsel from the Matthew 13: 31-33; 44-52 text. Which if these snapshots depicts the Kingdom of Heaven? Maybe all of them do. These texts describe the ambiguities of the kingdom....

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