Tag Archives: the Kingdom of God

The Hunger of Darkness, the Courage of Light

building bridgesYesterday I wrote about daring and true courage, about living with abandon and living with purpose. I mentioned that the greatest courage sometimes goes hand in hand with what appears to be the smallest decision. And it reminded me of what I read just the other day in The Hungering Dark, by Frederick Buechner. About silence and hiding, truth and speaking, concealing and revealing. About building bridges and having the courage to cross them. If you have a chance, read his book … any of his books. Here’s a teaser, the portion I read the other day that reminded me of courage. And love.

We sit in silence with one another, each of us more or less reluctant to speak, for fear that if he does, he may sound like a fool. And beneath that there is of course the deeper fear, which is really a fear of the self rather than of the other, that maybe the truth of it is that indeed he is a fool. The fear that the self that he reveals by speaking may be a self that the others will reject just as in a way he has himself rejected it.

So either we do not speak, or we speak not to reveal who we are but to conceal who we are, because words can be used either way of course. Instead of showing ourselves as we truly are, we show ourselves as we believe others want us to be. We wear masks, and with practice we do it better and better, and they serve us well—except that it gets very lonely inside the mask, because inside the mask that each of us wears there is a person who both longs to be known and fears to be known. In this sense every man is an island separated from every other man by fathoms of distrust and duplicity. Part of what it means to be is to be you and not me, between us the sea that we can never entirely cross even when we would. …

The paradox is that part of what binds us closest together as human beings and makes it true that no man is an island is the knowledge that in another way every man is an island.

Because to know this is to know that not only deep in you is there a self that longs above all to be known and accepted, but that there is also such a self in me, in everyone else the world over.

So when we meet as strangers, when even friends look like strangers, it is good to remember that we need each
other greatly you and I , more than much of the time we dare to imagine, more than most of the time we dare to admit. Island calls to island across the silence, and once, in trust, the real words come, a bridge is built and love is done —not sentimental, emotional love, but love that is pontifex, bridge-builder. Love that speaks the holy and healing word which is: God be with you, stranger who are no stranger. I wish you well. The islands become an archipelago, a continent, become a kingdom whose name is the Kingdom of God. – Frederick Buechner “The Hungering Dark”

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Seeking Treasure

Pearl of Great Price

“Come to the treasure, you who search and you will search no more.” This line from Tenth Avenue North’s song “Love is Here” brims with meaning.

One parable from the Bible that didn’t make much sense to me as a child was the following:

“The kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it” (Matthew 13:45-46).

Maybe it’s because I was never into things like shopping and jewelry. Selling everything you own … For a piece of jewelry? For nothing but a pearl? Who on earth would do that?

Only someone who recognized its true value.

Few would see such worth in a pearl. Just as few see such worth in the Kingdom of God.

Who would risk everything they have for that? For something intangible. Vague and hazy as a morning mist.

But when the true Dayspring rises, a Dawn that spreads across the sky illuminating all that has been in shadow for so long, all the kingdoms of the world will dissipate like that morning mist. And all that endures the Sun of the Morning will be deeds done in the Name of this one enduring Kingdom.

Acts of Love.

Sacrifice.

Giving.

And yes, even selling all you have for that one pearl of great price. Or giving it away.

Reckless? Perhaps. As reckless as the decision of the Son of God and God Himself to take on a body that can bleed and bruise, to die for the sake of those he loves.

You and me.

What is such an unrequitable gift worth? How could one even begin to repay such an eternal deed? Perhaps by counting all other things as loss, worthless, and fleeting compared to that one priceless pearl.

Perhaps by seeking that sole treasure … and finding that in its presence, all others fade. No more need to search. For you have found that which you have been seeking all your life.