Friday, May 21, 2010

Living in a Mustard Tree

"What is the kingdom of God like? And to what shall I compare it? It is like a mustard seed." This is one of my favorite teachings of Jesus. It explores the relation between the very small and the very big. "It is like a mustard seed which is smaller than all the seeds on earth.  But when it is sown, it grows up and becomes a large tree, and the birds of the air nest in its branches."

William Blake described it as being able ...

To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand,
And eternity in an hour.

The very large and the very small stretch the boundaries of our living space. They give us a glimpse of what is beyond this material matrix. Viewing photos from the Hubble telescope elicits memories of eternity. I recognize these galaxies. They feel like dearest friends that I have not seen for ages.

I read the paradoxes discovered by theoretical physicists about how the universe operates at the quantum level, and they prompt the same kind of response. These scientific explorations produce something in my soul akin to religious awe. I recognize spiritual truth in the mathematical equations. "Yes, this is how it is!"

It must have been how Moses felt when staring into the burning bush or the High Priest when he entered the Holy of Holies. It is awe that takes away the heaviness of time and space.

"What is the kingdom of God like? And to what shall I compare it? It is like a mustard seed, which a man took and put in his garden; and it grew and became a large tree, and the birds of the air nested in its branches."

Speaking of birds, the psalmist sang, "Even the sparrow has found a home, And the swallow a nest for herself, Where she may lay her young - Even Your altars, O Lord of hosts, my King and my God." These birds made nests in the crannies of the uncut rocks that comprised the altar of the Jerusalem temple. I am envious.

To make one's home in a mustard tree, to live in the crannies of an altar, and to recognize galaxies light years away - this is the Kingdom of God.
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Art is "The Kingdom Of God Is Like A Mustard Seed" Digital Art by Ruth Palmer

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