After stomping our way through Sunday’s Parade with our palms wavin’ and Hosanna’s at the tip of our tongues, our steps tend to tone down a bit this time of year. The final moments of a long and difficult journey…to travel from the cradle to the cross make our souls and feet, tender and sore.
We had our final confirmation class last Tuesday night, and I’m happy to report we’ll be celebrating four new members of the body of Christ this Easter Sunday. One of the final questions we talked about was…what is the kingdom of God exactly?
That’s a tough one isn’t it? Unlike much of today’s mainstream Christianity, Jesus didn’t waste much breath on talking about what happens after we die. Shocker…but Jesus didn’t say much about puffy clouds and stairway’s to heaven regardless of how good Led Zepplin made it sound.
He did spend virtually all his adult life, teaching and preaching about the kingdom of God that has come among us. Right now, even as you’re reading this, you’re sitting in it. It’s that close to you, even as close as your very next breath.
But mustard seeds are hard to see and difficult to grasp. It takes time for them to grow and we’re pretty impatient people. How then shall we think of it? How can we talk about it? Taste it? Touch it? Hear it? How can we find this kingdom in the midst of all the demands and deadlines of this world we’re so frantically caught up in?
Easy. Think about your table. Consider the table where you eat most of your meals by sharing the food you have with others. Think about your table manners…the way you eat and how you eat it.
One of the largest symbols Jesus used in his lifetime to help us discover the kingdom of God among us, was the table. On the night before he died, Jesus said, whenever you do this, remember me. In other words, if you want to remember what Jesus taught, if you want to taste and touch and smell and feel the kingdom right now…do communion together.
I want to say right off the bat that I worked in fast food for many years while going to high school and university like thousands of other young Canadians and am grateful for it. Having said that, as I look at this scene through theological and anthropological eyes, it says a lot about us and the world we’ve created.
Look at the picture of the restaurant. What do you see?
In order to walk in and eat at that table, you’ve got to have transportation. Perhaps you could walk there by foot, but otherwise, it would mean you need a car or bus or some other form of transit. That requires money. This food will cost you. It’s not free. It’s a service to receive food, not a fundamental human right.
So how do you get money? Well, you’ll need a job. Or you could borrow some, which likely comes with strings attached – interest rates apply. You could steal it, but then, you risk the repercussions of that action too. This is how we eat together in this world.
Let’s say you’ve got all of the above. How do you order a meal? You need to read. To read, you need a teacher, maybe a school. Again, those are services that are provided at cost to those who by and large, can pay for them in this world.