Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls; on finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it. (Matt. 13:45-46)
It was a simple Children’s Sermon at New Day. The question was intended to elicit responses like “my Anna doll” … “my Thomas the Train set” … “my Harry Potter books” … “my puppy.” I was looking for things that a young mind would see as an essential part of their happiness. The question was “What do you have that makes you happier that just about anything else … something that is one of the best things in your life?” …. And the answer I got from one of our young girls was this – “My sister.” Game-set-match … the preacher’s got nothin’ else. It was a slam dunk by one of our delightful young worshipers. I said something like “What can I add to that?” Everyone laughed and waited for me to go on. I meant it. What more could I really say.
Our Gospel Lesosn today offered us five short parables from Jesus. I’ve read any number of commentaries that try to neatly tie these pithy stories together, and maybe the scholars and pastors and liturgists who put together our Revised Common Lectionary had some logic in tying these five images (mustard seed, yeast, treasure, pears, fishnet) together. But it has always felt elusive to me, at best. Truth be told, linking them in my head feels like trying to hold mercury in your fingers. It just slips through.
But our young theologian at New Day hit the nail on the head. The parables are about relationships, especially the one we share with God. They each remind us that the gift of faith which ties us to our glorious God is the priceless pearl, the treasure of untold value, the unbelievable catch of fish. It is what transforms our lives and turns the logic of the world upside down. It is what reminds us that if our realtionship with God is right, then everything else will be right, too.
When the time came for me to preach a little later in this morning’s service, I thought for a brief second of just pointing to our young biblical expert and saying “Yeah … what she said.” Instead I blathered on for ten minuites, all the while thinking, I have no theological treasure to share, no pearl of wisdom to offer … because we have already heard the best news we could here. God blessed our younger preacher for the morning … and God blessed us through her.