From the Gospel of Matthew:
Matthew 13.24-30As Jesus goes on to say, the wheat represent the children of the kingdom. The weeds represent the children of the evil one. The field is the world. And both the wheat and the weeds are left to "grow together." Any separating of the two is left to the eschatological judgment. Any separating of the wheat and weeds prior to the judgment will damage both wheat and weeds.
He put another parable before them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field, but while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat and went away.
So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared also. And the servants of the master of the house came and said to him, ‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have weeds?’
He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ So the servants said to him, ‘Then do you want us to go and gather them?’ But he said, ‘No, lest in gathering the weeds you root up the wheat along with them. Let both grow together until the harvest, and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, Gather the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.’”
Interpretations about this parable abound. But there is something that struck me recently.
Jesus doesn't describe the kingdom as a bounded location, like a city with a wall around it, a division between Us and Them. The kingdom is, rather, located everywhere, mixed in and found, here and there, among the weeds. The kingdom is distributed, it can be found anywhere and everywhere.
And it seems, if I'm following Jesus, that any attempt to separate the kingdom from the world, to concentrate and localize the kingdom, only does damage to the kingdom.
We tend to think of the kingdom as a place, a pure space we create in contrast to the world. But in this parable that pure space can't be and shouldn't be created.
All is messy and mixed up and impossible to separate.
Where is the kingdom?
Nowhere it seems.