way back when i said i was going to share more about what happens in our living room on wednesday nights at our house of refuge gathering, which has been happening since the beginning of the refuge in 2006. i never seem to get around to it, but this week i thought i’d take a few minutes and share with everyone because it was such a simple & sweet idea and a great exercise to consider, no matter where everyone is in terms of life and faith.
one of the things i love about our group is that we never know what the facilitator is going to bring. i call it “spiritual show and tell” and whoever is on that week brings whatever is on their heart for us to process and practice. this week, my friends facilitating reminded us of the places in the gospels where Jesus would tell stories that started with “the kingdom of God is like…”
they read a few in luke 13: “the kingdom of God is like…a tiny mustard seed that a man planted in a garden; it grows and becomes a tree, and the birds make nests in its branches (v. 19)…it is like the yeast a woman used in making bread. even though she put only a little yeast in three measures of flour, it permeated every part of the dough (v. 21).”
then, the challenge to us was to consider a real-life story of what the kingdom of God is like, a moment where we tasted it, felt it, touched it, experienced it.
a moment where on the outside it might have looked like not-that-much, just ordinary, but underneath there was this magical kingdom-y thing happening.
a moment where our eyes were opened to the reality of God in the here & now.
a moment where heaven broke through.
a moment that didn’t make sense but somehow did.
a moment, no matter how big or small or seemingly spiritual or unspiritual or complicated or simple, we got a glimpse of God in a special way.
i had several come to mind that night, so i’ll share them here briefly:
the kingdom of God is like…a mommy with no safety net or family in a courtroom fighting for custody of her son and having 4 members of her community spend all day at court and advocate on the stand for her. it was just so pretty.
the kingdom of God is like…when you are all alone and sick and someone comes over and pushes your hair back when you are puking. (i happened to stop by a friend’s house who was a single mommy with a rough story and not very much kindness around her. she told me afterward, “no one has ever pushed my hair back when i was throwing up, ever.” i’ll always remember it).
the kingdom of God is like…when you need a pair of shoes to get on an airplane and someone in the hotel bar gives you theirs without even blinking. (long story, but my entire family got kicked off a standby flight because i had these cute flip flops on that didn’t meet dress code and i ran into a hotel bar crying, “would anyone sell me their shoes so we can make this flight that’s leaving in 5 minutes” and a woman immediately said “sure, take mine” and took off the world’s ugliest tevas and gave them to me without even blinking. it was amazing).
yeah, the kingdom of God is like that.
since then, i’ve been thinking of so many more stories, and each and every one of them warm my heart, remind me of the crazy-weird-ways-of-Jesus, and renew my weary soul.
can you think of a kingdom of God story, no matter how big or small?
if you do, i’d love for you to share it.
it helps open all of our eyes to the beauty that is sometimes so easy to miss.
the kingdom of God is like…