Friday, August 09, 2019

Good night

26 He also said, “This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. 27 Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. 28 All by itself the soil produces grain—first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head. 29 As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come” (Mk 4:26-29).

One of the interesting things about this little parable is how it reverses the symbolism of darkness. In Scripture, darkness typically carries a sinister connotation. At a literal level, fear of the dark was natural because it was dangerous to be outside at night. And even today, despite electrical lighting, crime is higher after dark. At a metaphorical level, darkness becomes a symbol of evil. The figurative connotations trade on the natural connotations.

But in this parable, God's kingdom grows by night as well as day. The kingdom enlists the darkness to grow and spread unperceived by hostile eyes. They wake up to find it far advanced. In this situation, darkness becomes the ally of the good. In a paradoxical sense, the kingdom of darkness becomes the kingdom of God. God commandeers the darkness to further his kingdom.      

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