This Sunday we are pleased to welcome our visitors from Northern Lights Presbytery who are meeting here at St. Paul's February 21-23.
The Scripture Reading for this week is Matthew 13:31-34, 44-46
The Sermon title is Contaminate the World
Early Thoughts: Something small, tiny even, that totally changes the whole. That, according to Jesus (who is a pretty good source come to think of it), is what the Kingdom of God is like.
Two books I read in late 2013 pointed out that leaven is a contaminant. As Jewish tradition developed, one of the things the woman of the household would do in preparation for the feast of Unleavened Bread is get ALL of the leaven out of the house. And when you really think about it, many leavening agents are very similar to rot and mold. What is yeast but a fungus with dreams of grandeur? What is sourdough but partly rotting dough?
And yet Jesus tells us that the Kingdom of Heaven is this contaminant mixed in with a large amount of dough to transform it. Because even if they are fungus or rot yeast and sourdough change what they are mixed into. They add air and life and bounce. A logical inference is that WE are called to be the leaven God is mixing into the dough of life. WE are meant to contaminate the world.
Or another image from the passage. A small seed that grows into a large tree...
Yes Jesus' botanical knowledge is off here. Mustard is a bush or shrub--not a tree. And it does not appear to be the smallest of all seeds. But the point remains.
The Kingdom of God, when allowed to flourish, starts small and transforms into something that gives shelter to many.
We spend a lot of time talking about the future of the church. But maybe we miss a key point. The church is not about the future, the church is about the Kingdom of God. And so being the church is about being a contaminant that transforms what it touches. We are called to contaminate and change the world around us.
Are we ready to take up that calling?