From The Rector’s Study,
Sunday, July 26th, Pentecost VIII, Treasures
Genesis 29:15-28.Psalm 105:1-11, 45b, Romans 8:26-39, Matthew 13:31-33, 44-52
Jesus compares the Kingdom of Heaven to a treasure in the field and a pearl. To get the treasure and the pearl means to sell everything first to buy the treasure and the pearl.
Does this mean we take this as the action we are to take to truly live out our faith, or is it some sort of extreme or ideal that we work toward and can never realistically attain?
I have mentioned that this can be done in terms of monastic living, becoming a monk or nun as a way of living this out. But this seems to be an extreme way of answering the question.
What is behind this idea of selling everything for the kingdom? The answer is the religious word; faith, faith in God to provide for us. The not so religious word which comes to mind is trust, both in God and others as well. We have become so individualistic that we have moved away from trusting others to trusting impersonal banks, investments and pension funds to maybe not provide but as insurance to have funds in the future.
Things have changed as we moved from hunting/gathering to the agriculture age to the industrial age and now the post-industrial age in many ways, but as we have moved from the first two, we have become more and more individualistic and less family and community oriented. For instance, in first two ages, pension funds were the children providing for their parents at that time of life.
Maybe we need to find ways not to change it all at once but gradually doing things together and sharing with each other, when we can sharing food together more intentionally, and maybe we can even now in a some kind of gathering to share food in some way remotely.
Maybe this is what Jesus is talking about when he mentions treasures that are old and new.
Bringing back old ideas in a new way, that again have a purpose and value for us.
Then I cannot help thinking of what Henri Nouwen has said about preaching. That it cannot be so new to the hearers otherwise they will not understand, maybe bringing together old or known ideas in a new way. Or saying it in a way people respond by saying, I was thinking the same think but did not know how to put into words.
Can we look at this another way, that it is not so much a focus on how do we go about selling everything for the kingdom of heaven as doing as much as we can as individuals and church communities to help those who have nothing or little to sell? Not so much asking how we can rely less on institutions and more on God and others as being the others who can be relied on to help friends and those in need worry less about their future and where their next meal will come?