I feel like I've studied the story of Joseph and his Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat so many times that I'm running out of things to say about it. I'm sure I could look deeper and find more, but I don't really feel up to it today. If any of you want to comment on Joseph, please do. I will say I find it interesting that the NRSV translates his coat as a "long robe with sleeves". That doesn't sound very glamorous until I read the footnote that said he wouldn't be able to do manual labor in such a robe. Ah! Now I get it. And I want one of those robes!
I am really excited to get to Jesus' parables. I've always liked the parables for a number of reasons: 1. I consider myself a storyteller, and I find that I understand things better when they're illustrated in the form of a story. 2. It's amazing how such huge cosmic ideas can be taught in such a simple form. 3. Parables are much easier to remember than a list of rules. In this one Chapter in Matthew Jesus tells:
- The Parable of the Sowers
- The Parable of the Weeds in the Wheat
- The Parable of the Mustard seed
- The Parable of the Yeast
- The Parable of the Treasure in the Field
- The Parable of the Merchant and the Pearl
- The Parable of the Dragnet
That's 7 ways to understand God and God's works in the course of about three pages. Wow! What's really great is how an incredibly short story can provoke so much thought and convey so much wisdom. Take for example the mustard seed. It's a tiny little thing that sprouts in to a massive tree. But it doesn't stop there. Birds come and live in its branches. Heaven, like a mustard seed, begins as a tiny idea here on earth, but as the Kingdom of Heaven matures it grows into the mightiest thing imaginable. It becomes a haven for living creatures and a protection and source of nourishment. Like a mustard seed, one can easily overlook Heaven, but if we cultivate it here on earth it can flourish for all to see. An amazing image created in only one sentence.
When I was attending the Church of the Advent in Logan Square, our priest put together a study series he called "The Parable Project". I didn't get to attend because of my crazy schedule, but after reading the many parables of Jesus, Father Peter challenged members of the church community to create their own modern day parables. By simply crafting a sentence beginning with the words "The kingdom of heaven is like..." we not only grew to find a deeper knowledge of God, but gathered a deeper knowledge of who we were as individuals, as a community, and as followers of Jesus. I think this just proves that God's message is one for all people. Jesus can teach us in simple stories a child could follow, but the ideas he presents are debated 2000 years later.