Readings: Matthew 13:31-33, 44-52
The kingdom of heaven is good news for the poor. It is good news for the forgotten. It is good news for the ones we as a society ignore and drive out of mind by the decisions we make and the habits and customs we enforce and participate in everyday. The kingdom of heaven is good news for the poor: it is for the birds!
In his sermon on the mount, Jesus spelled out for us what God’s kingdom looks like.
Jesus said that everything boils down to this, “love the LORD your God with all your heart, soul, and mind, AND Love your neighbor as yourself!”
These two things are inseparable. Loving God means loving your neighbor.
It means loving the neighbor by GOD’s definition, not our own definition of who our neighbor is. And God includes in the list the ones we like to leave out.
The Kingdom of God is Christ’s love made real for everyone. Christ’s love made real to, and by, you. For you. For your neighbor. For the most vulnerable, forgotten, generally hated, and neglected people.
How do we do our job, our calling, as baptized Christians--co-workers in the gospel, co-sowers of God’s kingdom?
You have to answer that for yourself in your daily life. How do you work, play, and speak (don’t forget to speak) that message in the places you already go, in the things you’re already doing everyday?
But here is what it might look like on a larger scale:
In this country, every citizen is a lawmaker, a policymaker. Every citizen has voice--if you use it. But that voice is a gift. It is power that God has given us, we, who live in this country. And it is for our neighbors.
So Think: Education for all our young people. Affordable, high quality education. That’s something Lutherans have been doing since Lutheranism became a thing;
Think: Laws that build people up and protect rather than push aside. The gospel transforms our hearts to take care of all our neighbors: to include everyone around us in love.
Think: Fair pay. Poverty is, around the whole world, the cause of things like drug abuse, bullying, and abuse. More than anything else, poverty and hardship is the cause of these symptoms. Where we spend our money and how we pay our employees is a kingdom of God issue. Stewardship of our resources and policies that take care of our neighbors is an extension of God’s love.
The gospel calls us beyond ourselves to care for our most vulnerable neighbors.
The kingdom of heaven is for birds. The gospel is good news for the poor.
In your jobs, in your families, you embody Christ’s love for the world. In your volunteering and in your voting, you embody Christ’s love.
We all know that the world isn’t perfect. But Jesus died and rose to redeem it. Jesus works his kingdom one bird’s-nest-in-a-mustard-shrub at a time.