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The f-word we all need right now.
Why kingdom treasures are buried and how we're meant to find them.
Some time ago I took a memorable drive through central Alberta, at the end of the summer, perhaps the most beautiful time of the year. The land is a rolling patchwork of crops, golden and green, like a giant quilt stretched and pulled along the fissures of the earth.
I found myself at the Dry Island Buffalo Jump Provincial Park, a stunning plateau in the middle of the Red Deer River Valley once used by the Cree as an ingenious means to kill bison in the hunt.
It’s the very same area where the once unknown and now famous Albertosaurus was discovered, a dinosaur that roamed the Badlands at the foot of the Canadian Rockies. It was 1910, in fact, when a number of skeletons of the beast were uncovered, but the American palaeontologist who found the bones had limited time in the region and left.
It wasn’t until 1997 that a team of scientists rediscovered the fossils and started more significant extractions to reveal the most important bone bed of the Albertosaurus in the world.
The great discovery had been there all along, a treasure of bones from the animal kingdom; to find, it simply required some seeking.
When the treasure was found, the geography’s status changed. It remained what it always was, but it was perceived differently. The layers of rock, the valley that cut through the rich Albertan soil, the river that slowly curled through the silent cliffs didn’t suddenly morph into something else. But the land was set apart in the Dominion of Canada as a Provincial Park. It was perceived differently, granted special status.
The treasures buried in our own lives
What are the treasures buried in our lives? Deep in the strata of who we are, there is excavation and study that will change how we perceive our personal geography.
There are kingdom of God things buried in us, not because they’re dead or dumped, but because they are things we’re meant to find, to then treasure. We, like scientists, must seek them with scalpel, brush, and trowel, for they are more significant and important than dinosaur bones.
We’re told by the first-century scribe Matthew to seek first the kingdom. And what is the kingdom? It’s something not easily defined.
It is the mustard seed, smallest of all the seeds that when planted becomes a large tree to shade the field and provide safe haven for birds. It is the woman who mixes yeast into the whole batch of dough.
The kingdom is the merchant who finds a valuable pearl, sells everything he has so he can purchase it. It is like a net thrown into the sea that catches all kinds of things that get sorted—edible fish to the market, non-edible ones to the trash heap.
The gospel writer Matthew piles image upon image of what the kingdom is like.
And even as the metaphors create a chain reaction of meanings we might never fully grasp, like a hook through the gills, the bottom line is yanked taut, and we are told to chase after the meaning, and seek this hard-to-define kingdom.
Do you know, deep down, that you need to perceive things differently? Perhaps your outlook on your circumstances. Perhaps your view or value of your very self.
Then seek after the kingdom and its meanings, it is the only way you’ll find it.
There is treasure in our lives deposited by God. A whole kingdom we must dig for, dust off, and reveal to each other and the world.
Go find yourself.