Matthew 13:44-53 (NRSV)
“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which someone found and hid; then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.
“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls;on finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it.
“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was thrown into the sea and caught fish of every kind; when it was full, they drew it ashore, sat down, and put the good into baskets but threw out the bad. So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteousand throw them into the furnace of fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
“Have you understood all this?” They answered, “Yes.”And he said to them, “Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like the master of a household who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old.” When Jesus had finished these parables, he left that place.
Jesus used parables to make known the hidden things of His kingdom. However, these particular parables appear only in Matthew and may not be understood by all. Those who value “hidden treasure,” “fine pearls,” or “fish of every kind,” will understand and “sell all” to achieve His kingdom; those who don’t value these things won’t understand or sacrifice. My 92-year-old aunt is a Jehovah’s Witness and normally worships in a Kingdom Hall. To her, the tablet her congregation gave her and taught her to use so she could attend meetings during the pandemic is a “hidden treasure”; the new carpet and fresh coat of paint they put down and applied in her tiny living room are like “fine pearls”; and the food that she both receives and makes daily and shares with others are “fish of every kind.” Despite her frailties and limited means, she lives alone, keeps busy, and witnesses to others 10 to 14 hours a week. She’s part of a Christian community that understands, values, and sacrifices. And she lives each day in peace with unwavering faith that His kingdom will be hers; further, she looks forward to that day with joyful anticipation.
If I may be so bold: The kingdom of heaven is like a Christian community in which faithful believers find ways to worship and stay connected even during a world pandemic that keeps them physically apart; in which they continue to laugh and lift each other up even as they wearily struggle with life’s heavy burdens, pain, grief, uncertainty, and fear; in which they face political division and discord, racial injustice, and other intractable human conditions with reflection, civil discussion, and increased determination to do better; in which they find joy by redoubling their efforts to spread joy; and in which no call for help goes unanswered. My Lewinsville brothers and sisters, you also understand – you value and sacrifice for the hidden things of His kingdom.
Loving, gracious, and Almighty God, we pray that you continue to use Lewinsville’s Christian community to help bring about Your will on earth so that we may all live here in Christ’s peace with unwavering faith that Your kingdom will also be ours. In Christ’s Holy name, Amen.