Tuesday, January 28, 2003
Then Jesus asked, 'What is the kingdom of God like? What shall I compare it to? It is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his garden. It grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air perched in its branches.'
- Luke 13:18-19 NIV
We have so little faith in the ebb and flow of life, of love, of relationships. We leap at the flow of the tide and resist in terror its ebb. We insist on permanency, on duration, on continuity; when the only continuity possible, in life as in love, is in growth, in fluidity... Security in a relationship lies neither in looking back to what it was in nostalgia, nor forward to what it might be in dread or anticipation, but living in the present relationship and accepting it as it is now...
- Anne Morrow Lindbergh
The tree mentioned by Jesus in Luke 13 isn't necessarily a good thing. Do you see it? In context, our Lord just finished talking about the birds that come to steal away the seed the Sower sows on the road. In Hebrew tradition, birds were often omens of evil, and if we take that position here, we get a fairly different reading, don't we? Can the Kingdom actually become a place where the "birds of evil" can perch, finding a place from which to forage and steal among the children of God...?
It can if it becomes stagnant. You've seem churches and Christians that have frozen in traditionalism - the dead faith of the living, versus "tradition," the living faith passed on from those who are dead. We've been apart of things that are fairly "church-y" but that have no real life, no real influence, no real challenge, no real depth. And if the "tree" grows into a place where the birds can nest - a place where there's no shower or rain of the Spirit, no winds of change, no "love... growth... fluidity" - then we allow ourselves to shelter the enemy, thinking we're doing the Kingdom-thing but really allowing room for the Kingdom to be demolished and nullified in our midst.
Just thinking out loud...