Thursday, 24 July 2014

Prospect                                                                           
The Rev'd Robert Warren     
1 Kings 3:5-12                                             
Matthew 13:31-33, 44-52

A key word, in understanding this Sunday’s readings, is the word “recognition”. 

King Solomon recognizes that his chief need from God is wisdom rather than either riches or a “right of recourse” against his enemies.  In the passage from 1st Kings Solomon is blessed by God for having made a good choice.  In Matthew’s Gospel the character in the parable is able to recognize a pearl or a treasure of tremendous value.    He sells all he has in order to possess it.  The Kingdom of God is like a valuable pearl and one is blessed to be able to recognize it.

If, out of curiosity, you perform an internet search with the words “How do I recognize...” in the search string you will find that what pops up in the results is overwhelmingly negative:  How do I recognize a controlling relationship, how do I recognize fake Italian pottery, how do I recognize skin cancer, how do I recognize the symptoms of a stroke or a heart attack.  There are clearly evolutionary benefits, for beasts and humans, in being able to recognize somewhich which threatens our immediate security, our present advancement, our health or our possessions.  I recognize the lion creeping towards me.  I run away.   

Good things are sometimes just outside our zone of comfort, however, and we must recognize what is good enough to risk our stable course for.  Could Solomon have cashed in his chips and opted for riches or the death of the enemies on his borders?  Of course he could have.  Instead he looked beyond his immediate needs and prayed for wisdom to reign for a good long time.  Wisdom was the better choice.  The chief character in the parable might have looked to his present possessions as worthy of protection, held on to what he had and kept to the trodden path.  Instead he staked his future on what he did not yet have in the belief that it would prove immensely valuable in the long run.

Can we recognize a good thing - the Pearl of Great Price - worth taking a risk for?  Do we have the moral courage, the lateral thinking and the sense of curiosity necessary to take the leap?  Are our priorities in the right place?