Dave Brisbin 11.22.20
We’ve always been taught not to mix our metaphors. We lose impact and don’t make sense if we say something like, “not the sharpest cookie in the jar.” Yet Jesus made a ministry out of mixing metaphors…ok, well, he wasn’t exactly mixing them…more layering them, piling them one on top of another. If your message is spiritual, you have no choice. Spirit can’t be quantified in words, only pointed toward. Metaphor is the language of spirit, and Jesus is masterfully fluent. His central and most expansive metaphor is the kingdom of heaven—his way of pointing to a state of consciousness, a quality of life as seen through the Father’s eyes where all things are one thing, completely connected. But knowing we would misunderstand, both then and now, he uses dozens of other metaphors to point to what it means and feels like to live that quality of life, approach it, sustain it. He piles them up and leaves it to us to sort through, to follow where they lead.

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Jesus may not have mixed his metaphors, but we must absolutely mix them into our quest for the quality of kingdom in our own lives. It’s not one metaphor alone, but all of them working together that paint the fullest picture of a life well lived. When Jesus speaks back-to-back of kingdom being like a mustard seed that grows uncontrollably into a huge tree, and also like leaven that leaves no part of the flour untouched, he’s making the same point: that kingdom is both tiny and hidden and huge and unavoidable—both right now and not yet, always here and always coming and becoming. When we take that metaphor and mix it with his metaphors of the child, the bride, and the gardener, we begin to see where he’s pointing…and the next indicated steps along his Way.

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