17TH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME

 

The birds of the sky come and dwell in its branches. 

 

A flock of birds, perched all together in a tree, can make such a tremendous noise that it’s possible to lose sight of the magnificence of the tree.   The squawking, the fluttering, and the rustling of leaves distract from the height and width and shape of even the largest oak.   But Jesus used this imagery to focus our sight on the startling size and scope of God’s kingdom.   The kingdom of heaven is the greatest of all kingdoms and stands above all other rule and authority and power.

Maybe you don’t see that heavenly kingdom right now.   Maybe all you can imagine is a glorious future congregation of angels, saints, and holy people.   Or maybe all you hear now is the crowing and cackling of innumerable crows and hummingbirds, eagles and wrens—a kingdom fraught with noisy squabbling.

But the kingdom of heaven is so much more than that.   Created and beloved by God, this kingdom includes every person who has ever been baptized in Jesus’ name.   If you are baptized, you are a citizen of this kingdom too! You have received new life and the power that belongs only to those living in it.   The power to ask for God’s favor and receive it.   The power to reconcile, to forgive, to heal, and to endure.   And not only power but also blessings have come to you—blessings of “righteousness, peace, and joy in the holy Spirit” (Romans 14:17).   These blessings will last forever, into eternity.

So whenever the world seems too dark and too powerful, remember that God has already delivered you out of that darkness and has transferred you to his heavenly kingdom (Colossians 1:13).   Be grateful to dwell in a kingdom that cannot be shaken or destroyed, a kingdom that confers power and blessings on its citizens.   Although the birds make an awful ruckus at times, the kingdom is now and always will be a place where you can experience the power and presence and love of God.

“Father, help me to tune out the clamor of birds today so that I might see the vastness of your kingdom and rejoice in it.”

Jeremiah 13:1-11
(Psalm) Deuteronomy 32:18-21

WORD AMONG US