Wednesday, October 22, 2008

A City on a Hill

Our farm in Saskatchewan was (still is) located approximately 60 miles north of Saskatoon. On a clear night (most nights), you could look south and see that familiar glow rising up from the horizon representing a city of 175,000 people.
I've always like the metaphor mentioned in Matthew 5:14. Clearly, the city that Jesus is speaking of is worth seeing; it's light not limited to one direction but set up on a hill for those around it to see. If you live in this metaphorical city, perhaps you've wondered about the kind of light that is being seen by others.
In our small group discussion last night, we considered the "love-one-another" command that Jesus gave. How captivating that kind of a light is! The love that comes from Christ, that pure love that does not come with conditions is so foreign to the area surrounding "the city". If we were to reflect on what it is that keeps us and holds us close to Christ, it's that love!
When the "prodigal son" decided to return to his father after he squandered his inheritance, he thought he had forfeited the love of his father. He could only hope for some peripheral blessing, maybe if he was lucky, he could be given the status of a servant on his father's estate. He hadn't counted on the unwavering love of a father that had not changed even during the absence of his son.
This is the kind of light the radiates from the city that Jesus spoke of. This is the love that gets attention. This is the love that can penetrate the most hardened soul.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Treasure hidden in a field...

When I was growing up in Saskatchewan, I, like all the boys my age, learned to operate a tractor in the fields when I was a preteen. I remember one specific day I was doing some work in a field not to far from the one pictured with my children, my father and our dog (above). I was driving a John Deere AR tractor. I had on one of my fingers, a ring. I'm not sure where I got it from. It wasn't anything special; no stones; just a simple ring that likely cost less than a $1.00. I still remember exactly what it looked like. I was playing with it when it fell off my finger, bounced off of the floor of the tractor, through a hole and down onto the field passing by below. I quickly got everything stopped and tried to find it but couldn't. As I passed by the spot with my tractor, I would look at the spot, hoping to catch a hint of glitter so I could locate it but never could. As I worked the field in subsequent years, I would always keep my eye open around the area where it had gone missing... nothing. As I grew into adulthood and left the farm, during return visits I pass by the field and always remember that small event some 35 years later.

In Matthew 13:44 is a very brief but vivid parable about the Kingdom of heaven. It describes a man who finds a treasure in a field. He then hides it in the field and sells everything he has to buy the field. He has made the connection that so many on earth fail to understand, Jesus comes to us and offers us something that is priceless, simply incomparable to anything we could possibly possess here on earth. It is something eternal. Jesus spoke of this treasure and then delivered it.