The Great Treasure Hunt

Imagine you are a treasure hunter like Indiana Jones or Clive Cussler.  You have found compelling evidence of buried treasure or a sunken ship containing much gold, many jewels and precious artifacts.  All of your careful research confirms that you are correct.   You quietly begin to sell everything you own, mortgaging your home, and business; begging and borrowing as much funding as possible.  You begin planning an expedition to a distant and dangerous part of the world, a location you can only share with your most trusted friends.  You joyfully put everything on the line including your reputation.  Your family and friends are worried about your mental stability.

“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field.   When a man found it, he hid it again,  and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.” (Matthew 13:44)

How is that like the kingdom of heaven?

Jesus’ parables are like riddles with multiple layers of meaning.  His disciples had trouble understanding what he meant by the “kingdom” because they envisioned an earthly nation of Israel restored to her former glory and sovereignty, with a great king like David or Solomon sitting on the throne in Jerusalem.

Jesus’ teaching didn’t make any sense in that context.  “The kingdom is here.”  “The kingdom is within you.” The “kingdom” is about who you invite to dinner, where you sit at the table, who your neighbor is, where and how you build your house or invest your money.  It has to do with how a farmer sows and harvests his crop, how a shepherd cares for sheep, how fishermen sort their catch, how yeast works in dough, and how merchants value pearls.

Back to treasure hunting:  What’s the treasure?  What’s the field?  Who’s the treasure hunter?  It depends on the way you see the Kingdom.  Is the treasure only about me getting saved, obtaining my inheritance, and going to heaven.  Surely, that is worth selling all that we have to obtain, but the full price for that has already been paid.

From Creator’s point of view, the “Treasure” is his children and the “Field” is the world, where his treasure is hidden, yet to be unveiled or revealed.  The Great Treasure Hunter invested all that he had, with great joy, for the sake of this treasure, hidden yet among the nations of the earth.  We who are part of the Family can join in the great Treasure Hunt.  We see how precious the treasure is to heaven and joyfully and willingly invest everything we have to join in the search.

~ John Cooke

 

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Beauty

We usually get our first awareness of God through beauty.  Its like a calling or enticement from what CS Lewis called the “far country”. That somehow there is more for us than this; wonder, awe, joy that seduce us towards Him.

The problem comes when we think that the beautiful thing is the source rather than the messenger. We begin to “worship and serve the created things rather the the Creator, who is blessed forever.” Romans1:25

Apocalypse Dreaming

In my dream, a little girl was skipping along in a city square humming a few bars of Beethoven’s Ode to Joy.  She stopped in front of a street musician and dropped a coin in his hat.  He began playing the tune as she danced and sang “…joyful, joyful we adore thee, God of glory, Lord of Love…” A violinist on his way to practice with a local orchestra stopped, opened his case and joined in.  Other members of the string section stopped and played along.  Violins, cellos, violas, base… then oboes, clarinets, saxophones. The brass came too: trumpets, trombones, French horns, baritones and tubas. A big kettle drum was rolled up and percussion was added.  Soon members of the choir began to arrive and sing “…hearts unfold like flowers before thee, opening to the Son of Love…” The song grew to a crescendo with full orchestra and choir.  The gathered crowd cheered.

When it seemed like the “Happening” had happened and the music had died down, there was a slight shift in the atmosphere.  I saw in my dream, a group of eagle dancers in full regalia bring their great sacred drum forward, with a new rhythm which sounded like the heart beat of the earth. They danced with flute and rattles, chanting a different melody, but somehow it was the same.  The choir and orchestra joined in rather hesitantly.  Other singers also were joining the choir, but soon there were many languages being heard.  Gospel and other cultural harmonies and chords were added to the classical. Street dancers, hip hop and rappers, a ballerina, and groups of ethnic folk dancers joined in.  There were Celtic bag pipes, Andean pan flutes, country and western line dancers, banjos, fiddlers and steel guitars.  Heavy metal and rock bands began to fill the air with walls of sound.  (I couldn’t tell where they plugged in their amplifiers.)  The great pipe organ and bells from the cathedral on the square added their great notes which seemed to shake the ground, but somehow they added to the music.  There were steel barrel drums with Reggae and Caribbean flavors, African drums and dancers, graceful Hawaiian and Thai dancers, Maori Haka dancers, great banner dancers from Asia, and huge Japanese Taiko drums.  All were adding to the music, building and enhancing the sound.

One would think that all the variety and diversity (more than Beethoven himself could have envisioned) would only result in confusion and noise.  Somehow, though, as if lead by an unseen conductor there were melodies, descants, embellishments, and counter melodies which all contributed to the same wonderful song of Joy.  When one style of music would subside, another would come forward.  That there could be such cooperation and unity in the midst of so much diversity was overwhelming to me, and I wept with joy.

My dream then seemed to fill with new excitement.  Song birds were adding beautiful clear high notes to the song (right on pitch).  High above an eagle’s shrill cry joined in, then there were many voices of many different animals:  a wolf howled in the distance, an elephant trumpeted, a lion roared (probably from a nearby zoo), and it seemed I could even hear distant whale song joining in. Then there was a rumble of distant thunder.  The wind picked up and sang its way through the buildings awakening wind chimes, whispering notes of joy through the trees and causing the grass and flowers to dance.  The waves crashing on the beach and the murmur of a nearby stream were part of the music.  As the instruments played on and the dances continued, it was as though the earth itself was beginning to move to the dance.  The sky began to fill with the colors of a gorgeous sunset  and a meteor shower.  The other horizon erupted with lightning flashes and thunder in time to the music.  It seemed like the rocks themselves were ready to cry out and the even atomic particles, quarks, quantum and mitochondria were electrified and resonating to the song of Joy. And I thought of the words, “All creation waits eagerly for the unveiling of the children of the Creator.” 

By: John Cooke ~ jfcooke.com