Life is short, right? So short, in fact that Paul describes our bodies, the most permanent things that any of us experience in our lives as a tent - an imminently temporary dwelling. Most of us are accustomed to using tents for… no more than a week at a time, right? So, the analogy of our bodies being like tents is very jarring to us.
While we are in this life, we are away from Christ, and we are wanderers, not really at home. This isn’t what we were made for. We were made for heaven, for communion with God - we were designed with a longing for God planted deep within us.
|Image from Pixabay.|
Paul observes that though we are afraid to depart this life, we are courageous because we believe in Heaven, our promised homeland, which we have never seen.
Because we know that this promised homeland waits for us after death, and the judgment of our master, we desire to please him while we are in this life.
How are we to do this? For this, I look to the other two readings.
The first reading is a messianic prophecy. The shoot referenced is Christ, the tree that grows from this shoot is prospered by the hand of the Lord, and animals take shelter in its branches.
The Gospel presents two parables of Christ. The first is the parable of how the seed grows itself - which may be understood as being the word being sown, and taking root in a way that we are unaware of and growing under God’s care until harvest time.
The second is the parable of the mustard seed, which begins as the smallest seed but becomes the largest of plants - large enough for birds to come and dwell in its branches.
One of the ways in which we will be measured is how have we worked to build the kingdom? Have we sown the word into the lives of people around us? Have we been a welcoming presence in the church so that people feel that it is a place to come to?
Mighty God, tender Shoot of Jesse’s tree, look deep in our hearts. Let it be that you find there a heart for building your kingdom in this world, but if you do not - take from us our hearts of stone and create in us a new heart that seeks to do your will. Help us to see the ways in which we can build your kingdom in our daily lives, and give us courage in the Spirit to act with your grace on the opportunities that you give us.