Eighteenth Day of Easter   9 comments

Kudzu

The Unstoppable Kingdom of God

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

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Acts 6:1b-8 (Revised English Bible):

That day [the martyrdom of Stephen] was the beginning of a time of violent persecution for the church in Jerusalem; and all except the apostles were scattered over the country districts of Judaea and Samaria.  Stephen was given burial by devout men, who made a great lamentation for him.  Saul, meanwhile, has harrying the church; he entered house and house, seizing man and women and sending them to prison.

As for those who had been scattered, they went through the country preaching the word.  Philip came down to a city in Samaria and began proclaiming the Messiah there.  As the crowds heard Philip and saw the signs he performed, everyone paid close attention to what he had to say.  In many cases of possession the unclean spirits came out with a loud cry, and many paralyzed and crippled folk were cured; and there was great rejoicing in that city.

Psalm 66:1-9 (Revised English Bible):

Let all the earth acclaim God.

Sing to the glory of his name,

make his praise glorious.

Say to God,

How awesome are your deeds!

Your foes cower before the greatness of your strength.

The whole world bows low in your presence;

they praise your name in song.

Come and see what God has done,

his awesome dealings with mankind.

He changed the sea into dry land;

his people passed over the river on foot;

there we rejoiced in him

who rules for ever by his power.

His eyes keep watch on the nations;

let no rebel rise in defiance.

Bless our God, you nations;

let the sound of his praise be heard.

He preserves us in life;

he keeps our feet from stumbling.

John 6:35-40 (Anchor Bible):

Jesus explained to them [the crowd]:

I myself am the bread of life.  No one who comes to me shall ever be hungry, and no one who believes in me shall ever again be thirsty.  But, as I have told you, though you have seen [me], still you do not believe.  Whatever the Father gives me will come to me; and anyone who comes to me I will never drive out, because it is not to do my own will that I have come down from heaven, but to do the will of Him who sent me.  And it is the will of Him who sent me that I should lose nothing of what He has given me; rather,  should raise it up on the last day.  Indeed, this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks upon the Son and believes in him should have eternal life.  And I shall raise him up on the last day.

The Collect:

O God, by the abundance of your grace you unfailingly increase the number of your children: Look with favor upon those whom you have chosen to be members of your Church: that, having been born again in Baptism, they may be granted a glorious resurrection; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

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One of the parables of Jesus likens the Kingdom of God to a pesky plant which grows from the humble mustard seed.  The plant goes where it will, regardless of human efforts to combat it.  I live in Athens-Clarke County, Georgia, which contains much kudzu.  Stubborn, persistent plants are part of my daily environment.

In Serenity, the movie follow-up to the cult series Firefly, Mr. Universe tells Captain Malcolm Reynolds, “Can’t stop the signal, Mal.”  The truth got out in that movie, despite the efforts of authorities keep their secret and defend their position.

Authorities executed Jesus and consented to that murder.  Yet God raised him from the dead.  Authorities stoned Stephen the Deacon.  Yet the work of the nascent Christian movement flourished.

The Kingdom of God will continue to expand.  The mustard plant will spread out.  Kuzdu will keep growing.  And nobody can stop the signal. Thanks be to God (except for the kudzu)!

KRT

Published originally at SUNDRY THOUGHTS OF KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR on April 6, 2010

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