July 30, 2023

A36: The Ninth Sunday after Pentecost, Year A (2023)

Richard Voelz

In today’s passage from Matthew 13:31-33 and 44-52, Jesus speaks in parables to describe the kingdom of heaven. Richard Voelz, Associate Professor of Preaching & Worship and the Director of The Bridge for Early Career Preachers at Union Presbyterian Seminary in Richmond, Virginia says, “After taking the disciples through this onslaught of cryptic parables about the kingdom of heaven…with nary a one explained…surely the disciples must have felt…clueless.” The disciples told Jesus they understood. Voelz says, “I so desperately want the disciples to look at Jesus with clueless expressions on their faces. ‘No, Jesus. Actually, we don’t get it. You’re going to have to give us more here.’…Because none of these parables actually make it any easier to understand what the kingdom of heaven is like…If Jesus wants us to actually live into the kingdom of heaven, then shouldn’t he make it clear what we’re supposed to be doing?” But, perhaps, that is the point. Perhaps in not knowing, we are best able to be drawn into the “imagination, wonder, curiosity, and creativity” of the kingdom of heaven without having to figure it all out.

Manuscript available: click HERE