Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Theodore Nottingham: On the Kindgdom of Heaven

“The kingdom of heaven is like a grain
of mustard seed that a man took and
sowed in his field. It is the smallest of all
seeds,but when it has grown it is larger
than all the garden plants and becomes
a tree, so that the birds of the air come
and make nests in its branches.”

(Matthew 13:31-32)
The Kingdom of Heaven is not above, but is both within us and spread out upon the face of the earth. In a powerfully insightful sermon on the parables of Jesus, author and pastor, Rev. Theodore Nottingham, illustrates how a mustard seed of spiritual insight nourished by spiritual practice can blossom into a true flowering of the higher consciousness that is innate within each of us. It is this "Kingdom of Heaven" within us (Luke 17:21) that Nottingham rightly asserts is at the heart of all of Christ's teachings.

"I suggest to you," says Nottingham, "that the Kingdom of Heaven is nothing less than God's living presence known to you when you can enter that state of awareness, that state of consciousness, when you are not asleep to it. And so all of (Jesus') teachings are processes to get us there."

It will not be said, 'Look, here!'
or 'Look, there!' Rather, the
Father's kingdom is spread out
upon the earth, and people
don't see it."
(Thomas, 113.)
"There is a method to this madness of spiritituality," Nottingham asserts. "Just that little bit of (spiritual) remembrance (and) application is so powerful that its ripple effect can change others and affect others, who (then) affect others, and (thus) have a powerful impact on your world today. . . . It is the power of God in action through you."

"He is," Nottingham points out, "giving us the clues (and) telling us in timeless imagery how to make these gifts of God manifest in your life, how to enter the Kingdom of Heaven and become one with that love which then pours out to the world, how to forget 'self' and let something more profound come forth."

"When that yearning to help another takes you beyond your 'self' and causes you to do good in the world," says Nottingham, "the Kingdom of God is at hand because you have taken that seed seriously, you have cared for it and you have let it come through in such a way that transformation occurs. Then you unite with something greater than yourself (and) you become a conduit for the love of God in this world."

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