The Chemistry of the Kingdom

I took a vow once to underline every verse in Matthew that started out with the phrase, “the kingdom of heaven is like…”. My self-diagnosed ADD made sure it was a temporary vow.

I like going back and meditating on these underlined passages. I think it’s funny—in a very ADD way—that Scripture never really tells us what the kingdom is, rather it points to what it looks like. Jesus used metaphors, cryptic similes, and other figures of speech that, at times, leave me slowly nodding my head in the same way I used to in my high school Chemistry class to cloak my disdain for and pure ignorance of chemical compounds and how many molecules of some periodic element merged—in my opinion, in a very suspicious and possibly immoral way—to another electron which gave it magical properties that may or may not be explosive. I always had an affinity towards the explosive which never happened frequently enough in class to keep the attention of (pointing my thumbs) THIS guy.

So what do you do if you’re not good at chemistry? You hope to pastor those who are good at chemistry.

“The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his field. It is the smallest of all seeds, but when it has grown it is larger than all the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.”

I love these Kingdom moments in Scripture, because it allows the imagination—something unallowed in the rigid formulas of chemistry—to form what we see the Kingdom to be. So in the above passage from Matthew chapter 13, verse 31-32, Christ likens his kingdom to a mustard seed.

Can you see it? A dark speck buried in deep creases of the farmer’s palm.

Squinting to make out its shape and color, she kicks a groove in the soil below. Squatting down, she upends her hand over the broken ground, dropping the seed. Immediately, she turns her palm over again to be assured that the seed fell.

It takes faith to sow small seeds.

Weeks, months, years go by as the seed germinates into a recognizable plant. But unlike the other garden plants, this one continues to grow—large and towering over its fellow flora.

Here’s the crux; the preferred modus operandi in the Kingdom of God is slow, small, hidden, and private.
Sow seeds of tears.

Sow seeds of prayers.

Whisper the silent songs of your heart.

Don’t be impatient with small beginnings.

Sow the small seeds.

Be faithful.


Then, one day, without much notice and devoid of pomp, you will see what has become of you. A tree. Large. Spread out. Rooted. Surprise.

Maybe it was the chicking and peeping of the birds nesting in your branches that awakened you to your evolvement.

And with one contented sigh, you will realize that this, this is the Kingdom.

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