This summer, the Clergy of St. Martin’s have selected some of their favorite Daily Words to share again. We hope you enjoy this “best of” series.
Today’s Daily Word was originally sent out on June 23, 2021.
The Kingdom of Heaven
Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever becomes humble like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.”
Matthew 18:1-5
Having a farm boy as a father attuned me to the seasons and the elements. I knew as a young child to keep my eyes on the sky and not wander too far from home when it was a cloudy day because of the chance of rain. A wind blowing outside our front door (which faced north) meant I better bring a sweater to school in the winter because a cold front was on its way. And about this time of year, the days seemed to last forever, not because school was out, but because the sun stayed in the sky for a long, long time. I just loved summer, even the hot summers of Texas. It felt like heaven to me, this expansiveness of time, sunlight, snow cones and freedom.
Many of us have visions of what we think heaven is like. Some think there will be a great throne room where God sits in His power and glory. Others envision a more pastoral scene, one where our Good Shepherd is finally seen with our own eyes. And we know all of the saints who have gone before us, including our loved ones, will be there, and we will be together forever in the new heaven on earth.
In Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus spoke a lot of the “kingdom of heaven,” especially through parables. It was another way of speaking about what is called the “kingdom of God” elsewhere in the Gospels. Oftentimes, those of us reading the scriptures equate the “kingdom of heaven” with heaven itself, and that is part of it, but whether on earth or in heaven, it refers to the reign of God.
From the quote above, Jesus tells us we must change; we must be vulnerable, dependent and trusting as children to “enter the kingdom of heaven.” We must take Jesus’ stories to heart, learning them word for word, as our young children do their favorite bedtime stories. For when we take the words of Jesus into our hearts, into our lives and then truly live them, we make the kingdom of heaven present in this world and in this time as we manifest God’s reign in our lives.
The Rev. Sharron L. Cox
Associate for Outreach, Pastoral Care and Women's Ministries
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