Ambiguous Birds

And he told them many things in parables, saying: ‘Listen! A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seeds fell on the path, and the birds came and ate them up…
 
When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what is sown in the heart; this is what was sown on the path…
 
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.’ Matthew 13:3-4, 19, 31-32

I wonder if it’s the same birds who eat the seed, snatching it away, and, just two parables later, come and nest in the Kingdom tree…

I think I was in heaven

When he had entered, he said to them, ‘Why do you make a commotion and weep? The child is not dead but sleeping.’ And they laughed at him. Then he put them all outside, and took the child’s father and mother and those who were with him, and went in where the child was. He took her by the hand and said to her, ‘Talitha cum’, which means, ‘Little girl, get up!’ And immediately the girl got up and began to walk about (she was twelve years of age). At this they were overcome with amazement. He strictly ordered them that no one should know this, and told them to give her something to eat. Mark 5:39-43

We read this story last night with the kids. J’s immediate response at the end of the story – “I think Jesus wasn’t really meant to bring people back to life. That’s why he didn’t want anyone to know about it. Maybe God didn’t want him to bring the girl back, because she was with God in heaven…”

I was happy. Wherever I was… I was happy… at peace. I knew that everyone I cared about was all right. I knew it. Time… didn’t mean anything. Nothing had form. But I was still me, you know? And I was warm. And I was loved. And I was finished. Complete. I – I don’t understand theology or dimensions, any of it really… but I think I was in heaven. And now I’m not.Buffy the Vampire Slayer, “After Life”

Too salty?

‘You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything, but is thrown out and trampled under foot.Matthew 5:13

But what if salt gets too salty, Jesus? What about heart disease and arable land lost to salinity? What does too much salt of the earth look like?

Salt is powerful and effective, changing it’s environment. But at it’s best it is also subtle, even hidden. Taste the salt, and you’ve used too much….

Sermon to who?

When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. Then he began to speak, and taught them. Matthew 5:1-2

Maybe it’s because of “Life of Brian”, or maybe it’s because we call this the “sermon on the mount”, but I always pictured this story as describing Jesus speaking to a large crowd. But read those words again. Doesn’t it look more like he fled from the crowds, and gave this teaching just to a smaller group?

Who got left out?

And the Lord God commanded the man, ‘You may freely eat of every tree of the garden; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall die.’ Genesis 2:16-17

Have you ever noticed that God didn’t tell Eve the rules?

Now the serpent was more crafty than any other wild animal that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, ‘Did God say, “You shall not eat from any tree in the garden”?’ Genesis 3:1

Was it easier to spin her, because she didn’t have it first hand? Easier to twist God’s words because she hadn’t heard them?

Look what happens when women aren’t invited to the important meetings….