Hi everyone. Rob here.
Where is the hope? Is there good news anywhere? A mass shooting of children in Texas. Bomb and destroy in Ukraine. Nothing but bad news on the climate front. Inflation starting to run rampant. Increased violent crime and the criminals just keep getting younger. Mental health statistics and stories just keep getting worse. And it all seems to be coming closer to home. The impacts of these things are being felt by us all. A young teen tried to assault me last week. Our income is starting to fall behind our expenses. Friends are struggling. It’s no longer just headlines but is being played out in real time in front of us and in our own lives. We need hope. Where is it to be found?
Jesus tells us the answer: The kingdom of God is like mustard seeds and yeast (Matthew 13:31-33). The kingdom of God is hard to see but palpably present and having a substantial effect on everyday life. Jesus also tells us that as the kingdom of God grows so does the kingdom of evil. There is wheat growing but also weeds (Matthew 13:24-30,37-43). The same parable also testifies that it’s the kingdom of God that triumphs. The mustard seeds win. The yeast works. Evil is headline grabbing but temporary. Goodness flies under the radar but is eternal. So, yes, there is a loud and brutal assault on our hope. But don’t give in to it. Why? Because you are the hope. I am the hope. We are the mustard seeds. We are the yeast. What we do matters and has eternal consequences. How do we respond to the evil of the world? By doing the next right thing even as we give ourselves over to God and his Spirit.
This is where your spiritual practice becomes vitally important. We can only give what we’ve got. If we want to give out the fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness and faithfulness) then we have to receive that from the Spirit. In the end it’s not our love or joy or peace that we’re looking to give. It’s God’s love, God’s peace and God’s joy and so on. It’s the life of God in us that we need to nurture in these troubled times. We all know that the world needs more of God and where do you think the world is going to get it from? It’s us. That’s the way God has designed it. We’re made in God’s image so that we can be God in and to the world. Jesus shows us the way. He received his identity as Son from Father and Spirit. He held tight to God’s truth in the testing times of the wilderness. He laid aside busyness to spend prolonged periods of quiet with the Father. In the garden of Gethsemane he gave himself over to the will of God even at the cost of his own life. He obeyed, always.
It’s all going somewhere. The kingdom is here and it is coming in all its glory. Evil will not win. It will be defeated and judged. Right now it may hurt, it may be causing doubt and despair, you may feel just so tired, but breathe. God is in your breath. God is in the trials. God is redeeming all, restoring all and making all things new. So be a mustard seed today. Show kindness to someone. Do something good for the planet. Be a patient driver. It may feel small and insignificant but it’s not. It’s the stuff that the kingdom of God is made of. It’s the stuff that lasts forever.
Grace and peace everyone.