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To what shall I liken the Kingdom? — The Faberge Egg

egginside I awoke this morning with this phrase ringing through my mind, “To what shall I liken the Kingdom?”…

And I remembered, when I was a little kid, the fabulous Easter Egg Dioramas. Remember them? They were made of sugar, spun sugar (the expensive real ones), and then when my daughter was a child they were often styrofoam. But there was a little window on the end, and you would look in and see this fabulous scene!

Maybe it was a circus, maybe Disneyland, maybe an airport. The “eggshell” was thin white, or decorated some, but light would show through at this wonderful magical scene inside…

I may be showing my age here, because I cannot find any images of exactly what I mean, so perhaps you’ve never gotten to see or hold one. If that’s the case, just imagine with me a moment then…

As I woke, it came to me… One could liken the Kingdom to holding this fabulous Faberge Egg in their hands, looking through the window at all the tremendous joy, blessing, and promise contained therein.

But wait, there’s more… It’s as if, when we looked inside, we were drawn within. That all that joy, blessing, and adventure were there… accessible to us… merely by prayer. That when we “look inside the egg”, when we “pray”, when we focus on the things of Kingdom rather than the mundane things of our lives… we got drawn INSIDE, and could spend the entire day in celebration, in joy, in loving abandonment of all worries, concerns, anxieties, simply safe and celebrating inside the safety of that Egg, securely held in the hands of our Love Father and Jesus.

But wait, there’s more… It’s as if, when we get the the end of this day of celebration within the Egg… when sadly we reflect that it is time to go… it’s time to return to the mundane world of our everyday lives… Our Father and Jesus and Their Breath tell us the Most Wondrous Part! We get to take ALL this BACK WITH US!

How incredible!

To find the Egg. To find the Treasure. To find the Pearl of Great Price… REALLY to FIND IT… is to realize that, however wondrous is our time INSIDE the Egg when we have the freedom to go and do that… We have the unutterable privilege, the unspeakable joy, to BRING ALL THAT OUT WITH US!

I woke this morning, laughing. Not derision, just pure joy.

We never have to “sadly return” from the Joy. We never HAVE to be “exiled to this valley of tears”. We have been given permission to BRING Kingdom here, into our days, into our homes, into our workplaces, among those we love, among family and friends, into the community among acquaintances and strangers… into our streets, among even the odd or the evil.

It’s an amazing truth of what Jesus did… But so many Christians… wondrous, loving, spirit-filled Christians, SEE the inside of that Egg and eagerly await being set free of this earthly tent and mortal frame of our bodies, that in heaven we may celebrate the fullness of Kingdom, once we die and go to heaven.

And yet… and yet… my heart so yearns. Jesus has brought it HERE. That we HAVE Life, and that more abundantly! That God so loved the ENTIRE WORLD that He gave Jesus to bring “the life of heaven itself”… HERE!

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Where do you keep your Egg, Gentle Reader? Take a moment, get apart, go find it. Find the box, find the sock, find the old briefcase, find that hiding place in your heart where you hid the treasures “too good, too fragile, to share with anyone else… lest they get broken”. Go, just for a bit, and pull out your Egg. (I know you have one. Our Father has given each of us one.)

Go find your Egg for a bit. Stare in that little hole/window. Let Him pull you inside to play for as long as you need to. Laugh, play, be His child… no work, no worries, no hassles… (just for a little while).

And then, when He says, “It’s time to go  home now,” and stretches out His hand to leave for the day… When you feel that moment of childlike “heart sink”, thinking you have to leave all this and return to the drudgery of “the world”…

Watch Him turn and ask, “Would you like us to take all this back out with us?”

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

What do you say?

Grace — LM

 

 
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Posted by on February 14, 2016 in Quiet Time, Sermon Seeds, Uncategorized

 

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I Believe… I Can Fly!


When you were little, didn’t you have great dreams? Great ambitions? Great hopes? The line blurs for a child, between “dull reality” and “vibrant creativity”, whether one sees a professional athlete, or astronaut, or the greatest singer EVER, or a knight in shining armor conquering dragons and saving those in distress!

But then, we grow up… We learn… There are limits to the possible. We learn to build our boxes. We learn the myriad of things we “cannot do”. We learn the bumps, the bruises, the batterings of the world and people around us. We learn… all there is… is this. Just little, dull, mundane, me… and you… and them… and this! (With a decidedly NOT “capital T” in “this”.)

But then, one incredible day, Jesus enters our own little, dull, mundane, me-and-you world. And He says things like… “To what shall I liken the Kingdom?” and somewhere, deep inside, there is a heart stirring… a tiny leap of hope… a whisper (too small, too timid, even to be fully “heard” or acknowledged, but still really there)… the child’s heart whisper of… “Maybe… just… maybe…” And old dreams, forgotten dreams of Kingdoms, and knights, and deeds of unrelenting courage and adventure rouse again deep inside…

Beyond this, on just as incredible a day,.. At that time the disciples came to Jesus and said, ‘Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?And He called a child to Himself and set him before them, and said,Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.’” [Matthew 18:1-4]


What if….

What if your Father were King of the Universe?

What if He had crafted and designed you, from before the beginning of time, to live fully as Prince/Princess in Him, and your perquisites and authority came into play as you learned to embrace and wield them with grace, love, and wisdom?

What if all those “heroic dreams” of your childhood were not simply aspirations TO Him, but hints to your actual nature FROM Him?


What if all the greatest dreams you ever dreamed were the barest inkling, just the slightest hints, of what you truly are and can embrace right here, right now?

Because… I have come to believe that all those dreams of greatness, heroism, adventure… are simply true. I believe I can fly. I believe I once allowed the truth of my humble childhood to be dashed and devastated by those around me who taught of limits, and boundaries, and boxes for Our Father and His embrace. That those same people BELIEVE in “limits”… that there’s only “so much to go around”, and that for ONE person to acknowledge the reality of Infinite Grace… that must somehow “diminish the availability” for others!

This was the error of the disciples noted above. This was what they needed to learn to “see another way”, to “be converted” from…

They wanted to know… “Who would be greatest in His Kingdom?” Because for the answer to be “ONE” of them… the answer could NOT be “ALL” of them.

Little children do not worry about such things. Little children don’t think such questions.

Little children just ask, “Am I? May I be? May I have?”

They haven’t yet learned the shrewd and measuring “sidelong look” at others around them, and begun the calculation that… “If He gives ME this… then THEY won’t get it!”


Can you find and release your Inner Child?

Can you believe?

Can you fly?


He only awaits your testing your wings, for He’s always holding us up, saying… “Trust Me.” We LIVE in the fullness of His Kingdom, called and equipped to rescue, to seek and save, that which is lost. The greatest adventure any can ever know!

Joy and grace to you!

The Little Monk

 

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“That’s What Kids Do!”

At that time the dlogo-Mcdonaldsisciples came to Jesus and said, “Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” And He called a child to Himself and set him before them, and said, “Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” [Matthew 18:1-4]

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

True Story:

I know these two little kids, 5 and 7, from a Christian home of two young-ish parents… (of course, almost EVERYONE looks “young-ish” to me these days… but anyway…) Good home, folks do youth ministry at their church when they can attend, though the dad has been having to work Sundays for much of the time lately.

Anyhow, these two very normal, boisterous, get-in-trouble-their-fair-share-of-the-time, loud, active, fun, kids found themselves at a McDonald’s Playland one day with their mom after a doctor’s appointment. (You know, those “Gerbil-Run-Pipe-Tunnel-Bounce-House” affairs set off with sound proof glass in some McDonald’s Restaurants?)  This is a massive treat for those kids, and they were there in mid-afternoon, well between the lunch and dinner rush hours, so they had the whole room to themselves… almost.

Sitting on the padding near the “entrance” to the tunnels and slide, was a little boy about kindergarten age, just playing quietly with a couple of the plastic balls from the bounce house thing. He didn’t look at them, pay any attention to them, nor was he in their way as “Loud” and “Cheery” (we’ll call them) raced past him to jump into the equipment. “Timid” (we’ll call him) was just quietly playing on his own, despite his mother’s gentle attempts to encourage him to enter the equipment and play in the apparatus.

After a few minutes of racing through the maze at the top of their lungs, Loud and Cheery noticed that their playmate had not joined into the fun, despite his mother’s permission and urging. (This was fundamentally incomprehensible to them… how could ANYONE resist the allure of a McDonald’s Gerbil Run?) All through, they’d been careful not to bump into Timid as they reran the maze time and again, and didn’t even scream near him (rare for them, trust me on that).

So after a few minutes, Cheery (the 7-year old) approached Timid and said, “Hey, do you want to play with us?” (His mom nodded encouragingly to him, but he seemed unsure of himself). Then Cheery said, “You can DO this. Don’t be afraid. We’ll go with you if you want!” as she held out her hand to him, and her younger brother held out his, adding… “Yeah, we can DO this! Come on!”

Timid, bolstered by the companionship and encouragement, took their hands and dared his way into the maze, climbed the stairs, used the slide, and generally set about to have a very good time with Loud and Cheery. Eventually, after fatigue started to slow the pace a bit, my friend called a halt to the mayhem, and had Loud and Cheery come and sit for their Happy Meals. Timid headed off to his mom to eat as well. A few minutes later, all having caught their second wind, the kids all headed back into the maze for Round Two, and Timid’s mom came over to my friend’s table with tears in her eyes.

That mother came to say three things:

  • Timid is autistic, and other children make fun of him or tend to go out of their way to frighten him.
  • Therefore, they come at this “low-traffic” time, so that the youngster has a chance to play without anyone else around, but before today he had never entered in, though he enjoyed being here and sitting with those plastic balls.
  • She had never seen children respond to him as Loud and Cheery had, and she wanted to thank my friend(s) for being the parent(s) they are… noting that the kids were extraordinary.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Now, Loud and Cheery’s mom called and told me this story, not to brag… but to share a laugh over the Title of this Post. She received this praise from Timid’s mom with pleasure, of course (who ISN’T pleased when our kids’ behavior is praised?), but also with a bit of puzzlement. She thanked Timid’s mom, but added that she and her husband really weren’t “working at it” all that hard (in her view). It was more just a Golden Rule thing. Her kids didn’t like it when others teased them or made them feel small, so this was a “discouraged behavior” among their family. No big deal. But she received the comments graciously and the kids went on playing.

When it was time to go, she called over Loud and Cheery and thanked them for how nicely they had played with Timid. Timid’s mom had commented that they had been very kind, and that was a good and nice thing, and she thanked them for it. (She and her husband “try to catch them doing something right”, as Ken Blanchard says… not just when they do wrong.)

The 7 year old just acknowledged the thanks with a casual “OK, he was nice,” and continued putting on her shoes. But the 5 year old stopped as he had listened to her intently and a puzzled look seemed to come over his face as, very deliberately, he took her hand, looked at her (as if explaining something to someone slow-of-wit), and said… “But, Mom… That’s just what kids DO!” (Play nicely with other kids and have fun doing it.)

It about knocked her out of her chair as she laughed and hugged him. She said he was absolutely right, thank you, she wasn’t thinking… and he went on to put on his shoes, nodding with satisfaction at having cleared up this mystery for his mom. I also roared with laughter, knowing these kids and readily picturing Loud’s earnest intent expression as he taught this lesson. He can be very serious at times.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

As this episode echoed through my heart, two passages of scripture echoed with them. One I will discuss here now, and it’s quite simple. The other came more strongly later in another prayer time as the Lord brought this event back to my memory, and we’ll look at that in the next post.

But the Kingdom of God passage that surrounds “lest ye become as this little child” is a rich mine of varied and diverse nuggets of truth. I don’t think I’ve seen anyone preach, teach, or write the “definitive exposition” of Jesus’ teaching there. Certainly not I.

But this 5 year old, boisterous, normal, (somewhat hyperactive), little boy just so illustrated something I think Jesus meant right there. He didn’t do what he did because of what people would think. He didn’t do it to get an ice cream sundae with his Happy Meal. He didn’t do it for a story to tell in Sunday School. He didn’t do it out of duty or guilt.

He just did what he did because it seemed the “right thing to do”. He followed his sister’s lead, trusting her judgment. He gets afraid of things sometimes, too… and when she offers her hand and he takes it… he feels less afraid and he sometimes tries new things. That just made sense to him.

He saw a small fearful boy. He thought the boy might have more fun with them than without them. His sister offered support, he backed her up, they all had fun. Simple as that. No double clutch to it.

Kindness, faith, encouragement, trust… and an offer to trust them for the benefit of the other. A whole Sunday sermon in the affirmation of a simple 5 year old.

I’d like to be more like that…

 
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Posted by on August 6, 2014 in Quiet Time, Sermon Seeds, Uncategorized

 

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