Mundanity and Messes
He said therefore, “What is the kingdom of God like? And to what should I compare it?” – Luke 13:18
The kingdom of God is like a woman on her knees, cleaning the dog mess out of the back seat of the car.
Honestly, that’s not the image I was thinking of this morning. This morning, I was ready to write that the kingdom of God was like the dog park, all sunshine and green grass and frolicking pups. I imagined golden retrievers, with their tail feathers blowing sweetly in the breeze as they prodded a hand with a friendly snout.
But I couldn’t write about it this morning, because I was taking my actual dogs to the real dog park. It was not quite the bucolic scene I’d imagined. A certain unmistakable odor was rather overwhelming; some kind of lab and somedog that’s maybe part huskie shifted from playful barking to brawling in an instant; a corgi puppy grabbed a clump of grass (and maybe something else?) and sprinted away from a little mob of barking dogs and shouting humans as fast as his tiny legs could carry him.
I piled my own scruffy dogs back in the car and on the way home the big dog was big sick. So now I can’t write about the goldens and the breeze and the grass because I’m kneeling in the driveway, mopping up the car.
The world is often astonishingly gorgeous, and sometimes unbearably terrible. We often look for, and find, God’s presence very strongly in those times. But most of the time, the world is neither of those things. And yet, the kingdom of God is there too, in the mundanity of it all, like a woman kneeling on concrete, cleaning up the car on a hot afternoon.
Holy God, help us to see you in even unlikely messes. Amen.
Jennifer Brownell is an ordained UCC minister and the author of Swim, Ride, Run, Breathe: How I Lost a Triathlon and Caught My Breath, her inspiring memoir.