Friday, July 25, 2008

Wanderings for the week of July 21, 2008

Good morning everyone.

This Sunday we continue with the parables of Jesus, reading Matthew 13:31-35, 44-53

I will focus only on (surprise, surprise) vs. 33 which is about the woman baking bread.

Jesus' parables are always interesting because the defy convention and our expectations.

Here Jesus surprises us in a few ways. First, the kingdom of heaven is like a woman who hides yeast in three measures of flour. To place a woman into a role that brings about the Kingdom goes against so much hetero-patriarchal understandings of Jesus' and our time.

Second, if you recall from the Old Testament, yeast was used as a symbol for evil and corruption. Remember, the escaping slaves were told to make unleavened bread for their Passover meal.

Thomas G. Long writes all about this. He writes that back then, to say "yeast leavens the loaf" was the same as saying "one bad apples spoils the bunch." Yet Jesus compares the kingdom of heaven to a woman who hides yeast in the flour. It is as if Jesus is turning the notion or corruption on its head. Its as if Jesus is saying the kingdom of heaven is a hidden force that works silently to corrupt our world.

Long recalls that there was once a country song that featured the lyrics "You're gonna ruin my bad reputation." This is how he interprets this scripture. That the ways of the world work in one way, but God's kingdom pervades the world, corrupts it in Gods way, and transforms the bland flour of our life into the joyous bread of our life.

I like Long's use of he country song and I wonder what other expressions could be used to explain this parable.

I hope all is well and you enjoy this beautiful, restful week.

peace, Pastor G

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