During this time of year, you can simply feel it in the air — people buzzing like bees, quickly moving from place to place, passing off presents, sternly shaking hands, embracing each other, even some merry kissing under the mistletoe. All humanity grows a bit closer in this glorious time of the year – flu season. That is right – the flu — the microscopic menace spreading like wildfire, which we can only hope to contain. Yet the flu is like the Kingdom of God. Wait. What?
To see the comparison, we started with the question Jesus poses in Luke Chapter 13, “What is the Kingdom of God like? What should I compare it to?” He points to two tiny, but curious, examples from nature that illustrate the uncontainable and incurable makeup of the message of the Kingdom of God: the mustard seed and yeast. Two of the smallest items that can be seen with naked eye can easily work their way into their host with seemingly no offense. Once mustard seeds are sown, it would be an impossible task to remove them from their soil. Additionally, if you were to knead yeast into a dough, it would be equally difficult to eradicate. In just a small matter of time each grow (for lack of better biological terms), changing the landscape around them.
I am by no means a scientist or theologian when I make the claim that the Kingdom of God is like a virus, but I see it as an alike analogy to the yeast and seed, present in today’s known world. When we become infected by a single strand of a seemingly insignificant substance it almost immediately multiples. Our body’s biology begins to react by reprioritizing processes and protocols. Even the most cautious of host cannot help but spread the contagion to others. Similarly, the hope we have in the Kingdom of God starts merely as a few words that come in through our eyes or ears, terribly trivial when placed within the context of the hundreds of millions we will experience in our lifetime, yet they knowingly or unknowingly work on our hearts differently. As these words begin to work in us, our priorities shift, our behaviors change, and our effort increases. The virus begs to be shared in every encounter inside and outside the body – passing of presents, sternly shaking hands, embracing each other, or even in merry kissing under the mistletoe. It becomes the definition of our existence.
You will undoubtedly be sharing space with the suffering in the coming weeks. As you hear the coughs, sniffles, or maybe even some of the more unsavory sounds of the infected this season, remember that you too, suffer in a similar way. The eternal infection – the Kingdom of God – is the longing placed into the hearts of all men by God who made them incomplete without it, but this virus is the cure for the condition of humanity, not the sickness. Work it into the dough, sow the seed, and spread the disease, to help others to know what the Kingdom of God is like.