No Failure in the Kingdom of God

Its Fall and the leaves are dying

Its Fall and the leaves are dying

The following post was written as a contribution to the October synchroblog series Down We Go.

It is cold outside, winter is definitely on its way and I am starting to think about how to wind down the garden before the end of the year.  Part of that process is thinking about what worked and what didn’t and why.  No failure in the garden I keep reminding myself.  If at first you don’t succeed try again, and again, and again.  If a crop failures this year it could still produce a bumper crop next year.  Just build up the soil with some of that compost which is itself transformed garbage and wait for the planting season to begin.

This promise of hope for a new year is implicit in the autumn season. As we watch the leaves turn red and gold and finally die, we know that they have failed, they have succeeded. Their death, their seeming end gives promise of a new season of growth and fruitfulness to come.

This is one of my most heartening lessons from the garden and so reflective of the kingdom of God.  God’s world is upside down to ours, or should I say right side up. Something that looks like success on the surface could be at core a total disaster.  Or vice versa.  You don’t try to feed 5,000 people with a handful of loaves and fishes. You don’t rule others by becoming a servant. Kings don’t get crucified. Dead people don’t come back to life. All of these are recipes for disaster unless you put them in the hands of God.

Failure on the surface may be transformed into God’s greatest successes. A few loaves and fishes do feed thousands with enough left over for another feast. The greatest ruler our world has ever known becomes a servant to all. A crucified king becomes the Saviour of the entire world. This is God’s kingdom, that crazy world in which up is down and down is up. This is God’s world, the kingdom that belongs to poor not the rich.  It is a place filled with prostitutes and tax collectors and misfits whose lives have been transformed just as the compost in my bin is transformed.