This afternoon’s reflection comes from my husband Tom Sine, author, consultant, wonderful cook, sharer of hospitality and a a great companion on the journey towards Christ and God’s Kingdom
Who is the Jesus that is close and what is the kingdom that he brings near?
Here is my answer to this question. It seems to me that the Jesus we meet in the gospels comes as a servant not a master. It also seems that he invites us all to join him in the advent of a new mustard seed empire that is very different from all human empires then and now.
“Remember that this new mustard seed empire was not ushered in with pomp and circumstance. As you know, it had its origins with a baby born in a cow stall in undistinguished village in the Roman Empire during the first century AD. When Jesus began teaching, he announced the astonishing news that his new empire had arrived. He made clear that it would be unlike any empire the world had ever seen. It came on a donkey’s back. Its “imperial council” was comprised of a handful of unemployed fisherman, a couple of IRS agents, a prostitute and some other hangers-on. Jesus demonstrated how to wield his imperial power by washing feet, telling stories and playing with kids. Jesus’ empire is based on the absurd values that the last should be first, losers are winners and the most influential in this empire should clean the toilets.
Jesus insisted that those who are a part of his empire shouldn’t worry about finances, but simply trust God. The resources to run this empire were basins, towels, and any left over lunches. This empire also developed a reputation for constant partying. What was even more concerning is that they were almost always found to be partying with the wrong kind of people.
Members of this empire are instructed to love their enemies, forgive their friends, always give twice as much as people ask of them and never pursue power or position. Seriously, is this any way to run an empire? Imagine what would happen if you ran a political, economic or even religious institution with these bizarre values. Clearly, it wouldn’t have much of a future. It might even get the leader assassinated.” Tom Sine, The New Conspirators: Creating the Future One Mustard Seed at a Time, p.120.
I would welcome your response to my reflection and discuss how, during this season of advent, should we respond to the servant Jesus and his call to seek first the mustard seed empire in a world preoccupied with the pursuit of wealth, power and position? Tom Sine firstname.lastname@example.org