In the Gospel for this Sunday, Jesus again tells three parables, just like last week! He must really like telling parables. He knows that listening to parables helps us to think about the Kingdom of God. Last week, when there were three parables, we thought about the middle parable—the Parable of the Mustard Seed, that teeny-tiny seed that somehow grows and changes into a tree! This week, let's again look at the middle parable—the Parable of the Pearl of Great Value. Once again, let's ask ourselves, what does Jesus want us to know?
“The kingdom of God is like a merchant in search of fine pearls; on finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it.”
Hmm. What does Jesus want us to know?
The kingdom of God is like a merchant in search of fine pearls
A merchant buys things and sells things. That is his or her job. This merchant buys and sells pearls.
A pearl is a small white bead—so very precious. Oysters—those creatures found in the ocean—make pearls. An oyster has two shells. Sometimes, a little grain of sand gets caught between the shells, and the oyster does not like that. It rubs at the piece of sand, covering it with a liquid so that the sand feels smoother. The liquid hardens. After a long, long while, a beautiful white pearl forms. So sometimes—not every time, but once in a while—when people open an oyster, they find a pearl!
The merchant buys and sells pearls, so he knows what to look for. He has probably seen many pearls. He knows what the best pearls are like. But what happens?
on finding one pearl of great value
One pearl of great value.
So, so special.
We can try to imagine what it would be like. What makes it so special?
The merchant does not have to imagine. He knows.
He knows that this one is special.
And what else does he know?
He wants it.
He must be with that pearl.
So what does he do?
he went and sold all that he had
All the other pearls he had been buying—he sells them all.
and bought it.
The merchant has the pearl! Finally, finally, he has it.
What does he do now? Jesus does not say.
At the end of the parable, the merchant has bought the pearl.
All the buying and selling stops.
All movement stops.
The merchant has the pearl.
The merchant is still.
Jesus says, the kingdom of God is like this. We have to wonder—what he can mean?
The merchant is with the pearl and the pearl is with the merchant.
What can we say to God about the Kingdom?
We can try sitting so still, just like the merchant with the pearl.
And then, we can whisper something to God.
We might whisper just one word.
What word will that be?