Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: The Kingdom of God (03/12/09)
- TITLE: Homework
By Steve Fitschen
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“You’re just saying that, Peter, because you don’t like to think.”
“So, you think this is easy, Bony Knees?”
“I’m just saying, Peter, you didn’t complain that it was ‘too hands on’ when Jesus sent us out and gave us power to heal and to cast out demons.”
“OK, wise guy, let’s hear your parable if you think it’s so easy.”
“I didn’t say it was easy, but OK, here’s one. The kingdom of God is like an acacia tree that grows in the sea on the Sabbath.”
“What?!” exclaimed Philip, beating everyone else to the punch. “What does that even mean?”
“I have no idea,” replied John. “But we never understand Jesus’ parables; he always has to explain them to us. So I thought maybe that was the idea.”
“Oh, good,” teased Bartholomew, “I thought maybe that came to you in one of your ‘visions.’”
“OK, so what have you come up with?” John retorted.
“Oh, I have lots of them. This isn’t hard at all: It’s easier for an elephant to go through a rabbit hole than for a wealthy man to enter the Kingdom of God. Blessed are you when you don’t have a lot of money or possessions, for yours is the Kingdom of God. The kingdom of God is like a date palm.”
“Good grief!” cried Thaddaeus. “You can’t do that.”
“Can’t do what?”
“Just take Jesus’ parables and substitute different words. Besides, the whole point of the mustard seed is that it is small. But a date palm—oh, never mind!”
“No, no, that’s good; I get it. OK, the kingdom of God is like a thistle seed.”
“Even I did better than that,” Peter said.
“OK, let’s hear it,” challenged Andrew.
“The Kingdom of God is like a man who walks on the water but gets scared and starts to sink.”
Matthew groaned. “Why is everything always about you?”
“What are you talking about?”
“You know exactly what I’m talking about. You always—”
“Shut up! Just shut up! It’s bad enough we have to do this. I’m not going to listen to your moronic little parables or your constant squabbling about who is the greatest. You want a parable about the Kingdom of God? Here it is: The Kingdom of God is like a mighty warrior riding into Jerusalem to cut Pontius Pilate's head off and overthrow the Romans.” Judas stomped off, leaving the others in stunned silence.
Finally, James the Lesser said, “Well, alrighty then!” Once the tension was broken, words gushed out of them, everyone talking on top of each other.
“The kingdom of God is like a river that bends back on itself like a snake with a big bulge from where it ate a rabbit.”
“The kingdom of God is like leaven that a servant girl hides in four pecks of flour. No wait—two pecks of flour. No wait—an ephah of ground corn.”
“The kingdom of God comes like the rising of the sun over the city of Jerusalem.”
“The kingdom of God is like . . . is like . . . OK, the kingdom of God is like . . . aaahhh!”
“Be kind to the poor—you’ll get into the Kingdom of God.”
“To what shall we compare the Kingdom of God? It is like a dove in the desert. It is like a fire set in a field that cannot be stopped. It is like a cobbler who rips the old sole off of a sandal to put on the new.”
“Once upon a time there was a kingdom and it had a king and … um … aaaaahhhh!”
Eventually, they fell silent. “Parables are hard,” Peter said.
“So, that’s the story. What a bunch—the twelve of us struggling to come up with a decent parable among us! The rest are gone now. I guess I’d say the Kingdom of God is like a man who gathered his dim-witted servants together and told them to spread a message—a message his enemies wanted to stop. One servant was a traitor who told his master’s enemies where to find him. Ten were killed by the master’s enemies—crucified, beheaded, skinned alive. And one died an old man. But before they died—dim-witted though they were—they told people who told people who told others still. And the message spread far and wide.”
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