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Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Day Seven (Kingdom of Heaven)

The Genesis reading for today tells the story of Joseph. An interest hero in my mind because he isn't super strong, or even super wise. His "super power" is the ability to interpret dreams, and evidently run things. While in Egypt he is always put in charge of things, whether Potiphar's house, the jail he is in, or all of Egypt.

The Matthew reading comes from Chapter 13. Here we have a series of parables about the kingdom of heaven. In my mind, there are two competing understandings of the kingdom of heaven. One view is that the kingdom of heaven is the opposite of the kingdom of Ceasar. While in Cesaer's kingdom, the poor are on the bottom, in the kingdom of Heaven, the poor are on top. Cesaer's Kingdom is based on power, the kingdom of heaven is rooted in truth. Etc. This view is supported by several of the parables such as the parable of the mustard seed and the parable of the sower.

The other view is that the kingdom of heaven is an other worldly kingdom, sort of a post judgment day kingdom that exists after this world is gone. In the former view, one can enter the kingdom of heaven now by following the way, in this view, one can gain admission to the kingdom but it is not yet here. That view is supported by the parable of the wheat and the weeds.

I think the pearl of great price and the land with the treasure equally supports both. An added tension in reading this passages comes from the fact that they were written 30-60 years after Jesus' death. So, what did the authors think Jesus meant when he said the kingdom is close at hand?

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