I've started reading Brian McLaren's new book, The Secret Message of Jesus. In it, he raises questions about how to explain and interpret the "Kingdom of God." Kings are out-dated. Maybe, he says, we should think of it as a block party. Or a dance. Or something else.
Whatever our name for it, he reminds us that the consistent piece of what Jesus says about it is that it IS. "The Kingdom is as someone woudl scatter seed on the ground..." "The Kingdom is like a mustard seed..."
I'm captivated by a comparison that Shane Claiborne made to the mustard seed: he says it's like kudzu.
Somehow, this was lost on me in Sunday School--I remember being handed mustard seeds. I remember planting LITTLE BITTY seeds and delighting in how they could grow.
What I don't remember is mention of the fact that the thing we're planting is a dangerous weed that most farmers want to keep off of their land.
(Hence his comparison to kudzu--any Southerner will know this prolific plant. First introduced in the US at a 1876 Exposition in Philadelphia in the display from Japan, of beautiful plants, it was widely promoted during the Great Depression as a means of erosion control. Well, it grew and keep the soil in place, but also too over EVERYTHING... Now, folks worry about the health of the forest, because this plant whose vines can grow 60 feet a year is keeping the light out.)
Which suddenly makes being a part of Christianity sound a whole lot more dangerous--and more is at stake. Perhaps this kingdom will grow in us and our communities, and will mean lots of changes...
So check out this week's scriptures and see what you think: Mark 4:26-34 and 2 Corinthians 5:6-17.