From the Gospel according to Luke:
[Jesus] said therefore, “What is the kingdom of God like? And to what should I compare it?”
(From the Daily Office Lectionary – Luke 13:18 (NRSV) – May 22, 2013.)
Jesus used parables and metaphors and analogies to try to explain the kingdom of God to his followers and sometimes they got it and sometimes they didn’t. Those of us who follow Jesus as clergy and as preachers have joined him in that struggle for 2,000 or so years. To a greater or lesser extent, every sermon preached is an attempt to answer the question, “What is the reign of God like?” And so we clergy always seem to be on the lookout for “sermon illustrations.”
Monday’s tragic tornado in Moore, Oklahoma, in the southern suburbs of Oklahoma City, has provided two visual parables.
The kingdom of Heaven is like ten pins in a bowling alley in the midst of a tornado. The winds blew at 200 mph; debris swirled around them and buildings fell. But those pins withstood the storm and endured.
Then, again, the kingdom of God is like a pet found in the debris of a tornado.
Ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est.
Congregavit nos in unum Christi amor.
Exsultemus, et in ipso jucundemur.
Timeamus, et amemus Deum vivum.
Et ex corde diligamus nos sincero.
Where charity and love are, God is there.
Christ’s love has gathered us into one.
Let us rejoice and be pleased in Him.
Let us fear, and let us love the living God.
And may we love each other with a sincere heart.
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Father Funston is the rector of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Medina, Ohio.