Jane and I are finding ourselves thinking a lot more about education as our grandparenting era emerges. The discussion about education is very much about the best conditions for encouraging the maximum growth in a child. Some conditions are flatly detrimental, others particularly designed to foster the maximum education outcome.
Creation is dynamic, it is growth oriented, nothing stays the same. Jesus emphasises that growth is so fundamental that the Kingdom of Heaven itself is characterised by growth.
For the people of his day, he utilised the example of the farmer to make this point. In today’s world farming is highly sophisticated. The days of Jesus, it was opportunistic. The sower would utilise any spare piece of land, naturally the recognizably good soil, perhaps among the rocks or near some bushes.
If it might grow in the area then it was worth a try. Consequently, there was a good deal of hope. Much succeeded, but some had various outcomes. If it fell among the rocks, the sun would dry it up. The birds could enjoy the easy pickings, or the weeds overpower it.
Ah, but where the conditions were good, the results were wonderful.
LIFE AS KINGDOM
In this example the Kingdom is located in the hearts and minds of people. But just as the possibility of good growth is dependent on good conditions, so is the Kingdom of God. The human experience is one of extraordinary flux and the outcomes depend upon our individual management. Our resolve needs to be clear for the plenitude of human possibilities means the growth of the spirit can easily be effected by the circumstances we find ourselves in.
Even the most well intended can find themselves influenced by the vagary of possibilities. The influence of others. The possible outcomes, the uncertain consequences. The lack of conviction.
Yet history is full of stories of the most unexpected determination of people who rise to the occasion. People who grasped the opportunity when it came their way, and they produced spectacular results.
The shape of the Kingdom lies before all of us, awaiting each of us to determine the way we live. What is outstanding is that it is not going to emerge through some major unexpected intervention by some distant God. Not by the leaders who have emerged across society. It is shaped by the effort of the accumulative contribution of each and every person, who wants to dream of the possible good they can contribute.
SOCIAL MEDIA & ACTIVISM
We have been learning many lessons from recent times. People speak of the Arab Spring. It was an illustration showing that humans now equipped with a mobile phone, can be aroused to act in unison to form a large gathered crowd at the drop of a hat anytime and anywhere.
Naomi Klein is a modern day social activist writing on major topics that effect the shape of society. Faced with what many are calling the destruction of democracy, her last book called, ‘No is Not enough,’ is reminding her readers that grass roots movements are powerful and effective for they deal with real human issues and unleash grand rivers of human spirit.
Education, Farming Social welfare and Social justice, all point to something about the Kingdom that Jesus had come to inaugurate. With the right conditions, humans working together can empower growth when displaying the marks of the Kingdom, love, joy, peace, mercy, truth and encouragement. Each human being can make their contribution count however large or small. That was the method Jesus taught to spread his Kingdom.