The Kingdom of God is like ...
There was a heartwarming story that a woman in Georgia posted on her Twitter account the other week which got picked up by several news outlets. It was a series of photos and comments depicting the last day of work for mail carrier Floyd Martin, who had been delivering mail on the same route for over 30 years. “Mr. Floyd,” as the people call him, was retiring.
The photos show mailboxes decorated with ribbons, posters and balloons in honor of Mr. Floyd. Others show people coming out to give their beloved mailman hugs and gifts. At the end of his route, there was a potluck supper waiting with more than 300 people in the community gathered. Mr. Floyd was the guest of honor.
In many of the gospels, Jesus uses parables to teach the disciples and the crowds that gather what the Kingdom of God is like. The Kingdom of God is like a mustard seed. Or a treasure buried in a field. Or yeast.
Oftentimes the parables are hard for us to understand because our culture today is different in many ways for the world in which the disciples lived. I think stories like that of Mr. Floyd and his community in Georgia are sort of modern-day parables through which we can see glimpses of what the Kingdom of God is like.
In a culture that seems to value productivity and career advancement more than all else, the story of the beloved mailman tells a different story. Mr. Floyd was offered a better, less strenuous job within the postal service, but he turned it down in order to stay with the community that he loved.
In a world where banquets are thrown most often for the largest donors, or in order to entice you into financial support, the story of the beloved mailman paints a different picture. Jesus’ parables taught of the Kingdom of God where the priorities of the world were turned on their head.
The story of the beloved mailman tells a tale where relationships, kindness and love are cause for the grandest of celebrations, and where small, simple acts can make lasting community. The Kingdom of God is like a community with a retiring mailman.