This Sunday I begin a series of sermons in Sanctuary worship on six of Jesus’ parables. It is entitled “Parables of the Realm of God” because whether Jesus explicitly said, “The kingdom of God is like . . .” or not, Jesus was always pointing to the realm of God in his teachings. He was always calling people to live in the realm of God. I use the word “realm” with a purpose — we don’t live in a kingdom and aren’t much acquainted in our culture with what that means, but the word “realm” captures the meaning beautifully. The word “realm” means a royal domain, like the term “kingdom,” but it also means “the region, sphere, or domain within which anything occurs, prevails, or dominates.” [dictionary.com] So, I use the more inclusive term “realm”: the realm of God is “the region, sphere, or domain within which the will of God occurs, prevails, or dominates.”
Jesus’ parables are about this realm. In his book “Why Jesus?”, Bishop William H. Willimon writes, “Parables, these pithy strange little stories from everyday life, are the most distinctive — and peculiar — aspect of the teaching of Jesus.” In this series we will discover why these timeless stories — like a good joke — always have a punch line, but with a different kind of punch. It’s not so much, “Oh, I get it” as it is “Jesus got me!” In this series we will find our own place in these parables that expose the big picture of God’s dreams for our world and, more specifically, God’s dreams for you and me.
In this Sunday’s sermon, I will be exploring a couple of Jesus’ parables about growth. I encourage you to read them and think about them for our church, our community, our world — and for your life within those realms and within the realm of God. Here are our readings:
Mark 4:26-29 — “Then Jesus said, “This is what God’s kingdom is like. It’s as though someone scatters seed on the ground, then sleeps and wakes night and day. The seed sprouts and grows, but the farmer doesn’t know how. The earth produces crops all by itself, first the stalk, then the head, then the full head of grain. Whenever the crop is ready, the farmer goes out to cut the grain because it’s harvesttime.”
Luke 13:18-21 — “Jesus asked, ‘What is God’s kingdom like? To what can I compare it? It’s like a mustard seed that someone took and planted in a garden. It grew and developed into a tree and the birds in the sky nested in its branches.’ Again he said, ‘To what can I compare God’s kingdom? It’s like yeast, which a woman took and hid in a bushel of wheat flour until the yeast had worked its way through the whole.’”
I look forward to seeing you Sunday!
Grace and Peace,
Dr. Tim Bruster