This Sunday the set reading is this:
He put before them another parable: ‘The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that someone took and sowed in his field; it is the smallest of all the seeds, but when it has grown it is the greatest of shrubs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.’
He told them another parable: ‘The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour until all of it was leavened.’
‘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 righteous and 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.’
So Jesus describes the Kingdom of Heaven in 5 different ways – can you spot the similarity between them all?
Sorry – its a trick question. Why should there be a similarity? When we are looking at parables we are looking at stories to spark the imagination. Rather than narrowing God down to what all these things have in common, why not see them as descriptions of different facets of God? Indeed – why not see how many different images of God you can get from each one?
Over 40 years ago I recall seeing James Burke on the telly asking a number of people how many uses they could think of for a brick. The number of different answers they came up with varied enormously – one of those with a large number thought it could be something for a mouse to hide behind!
So get thinking – and don’t limit your mind – expand it.