Tangled Up In God
Parables...gotta love 'em.
At once, they are stories with rich images and provocative lessons to inculcate while at the same time presenting an opaque surface that lightly obscures and prevents simple answers to deep questions. We could spend weeks on parsing the meaning of any of Jesus' teachings in chapter 13 of Matthew's Gospel...or just moments in quiet contemplation and awe of the wisdom of the master. The parable of the sower...or of the fisherfolk...or of the wheat and the tares...or of the pearl of great price...or of the woman's leaven...or of the treasure in the field....you could spend a lifetime working on these teachings of Jesus about the kingdom of heaven.
Or, we could just shake our heads and walk away.
How many, coming to hear Jesus speak, encountered these oblique stories and just threw up their hands in frustration? Surely, that was the reaction of many in his hometown. They saw the carpenter's son, the son of Mary. They saw the sibling of their workmates and friends. This was the brother of James, Joseph, Simon and Judas. He is just Jesus, so who gave him all these teachings to parrot?
And yet, within these parables lies a deep wisdom, one that is not in a rush to be consumed and processed, filed and forgotten. They are there for us as renewable resources of learning about God and the kingdom of God that we are to be a part of as the Body of Christ grows through our common witness. Each time I reflect on them, I learn more about my community, my self, my brothers and sisters in Christ and-most importantly-about God.
The challenge is to remain connected to them, to grasp them with a light enough touch that they continue to bloom in my as I continue to grow in Christ. It is more that obtaining explanation, or even clarity. It is about a willingness to remain tangled up in God, and like the wheat and the tares to allow that which is good to bear fruit even while what is "weeds" in me is drawn away to be consumed.
It is to remain tangled up in God...and to let the teachings bloom in their time for us and through us.