Saturday, March 19, 2011

The Thistle & Shamrock - A Kingdom Parable




On a warm, summer day the Father called his sons and daughters to a feast in his yard. All the children of God came. They relaxed and played in their Father's yard; a welcoming green paradise, covered with shamrocks as far as the eye could see. They ate and drank and rejoiced in his goodness all day. At the end of the day they asked a question of the Father. They noticed a lone thistle standing at the very back of the property. Thinking it was out of place, they inquired why it was allowed to stand.

The Father explained:

"All of creation displays my character. All life is a representation of who I am. I invited you to a feast because I am your provider. I encourage your joyfulness in playing because I am the source of all joy. The shamrocks are a symbol of my grace and forgiveness, covering the hard ground and providing a blanket of comfort to those who are troubled in life. These things are symbols of who I am.

The thistle is a symbol of my judgment. It's purple flower speaks of my place as King over all creation. As king, I am the judge of all men. At the end of days I will call the wicked before my throne to give an account of their life. Judgment is my strange work. I take no pleasure in it. The thorn is a symbol of the pain I bear as your judge."

The Father called his children together before sending them home. He instructed them with these words: "Go now, and do as I have done for you. You are my representatives on the earth. I give you two bags of seed;, thistle and shamrock. Plant as you see fit." And with these instructions, the children of God returned home.

Grace was a woman of God who went home and considered how to follow the instructions she was given as did Justice, who was her neighbor.

As he pondered how to represent his Father, Justice was often troubled by the coming judgment. He lived in a village that was full of sinful people. He sought counsel in the book that was given by the Father. He read of many who were judged for their wickedness in days of old. He loved the righteous lives of prophets and saints and hated sin and he soon developed contempt for those who lived in his village. In the spring, Justice planted both thistle and shamrock.

In the fall, Grace came to visit Justice. She walked carefully through his yard, trying to walk on the small patches of shamrocks here and there. She couldn't avoid being poked on the way to the front door; the yard was a dangerous maze of thistles. He welcomed her inside. Grace was puzzled at the abundance of thistles in his yard and asked why he had planted this way.

Justice explained:

"I wasn't sure how to plant, until I read in the book that our Father had judged the wicked in days of old. I felt it best to warn our neighbors of the coming judgment. So I sowed thistle seeds as a reminder. I also sowed shamrocks, but it seems the thistles have overgrown them and nobody feels safe in my yard. I'm not sure I did the right thing. Tell me Grace, what seeds did you sow?"

She smiled and said, "Come with me". The two carefully navigated their way to the road and walked to the house of Grace.

Approaching her house, Justice was stunned to see people frolicking and feasting in her yard, which was a deep green, blanket of shamrocks. There wasn't a thistle in sight.

"I don't understand", said Justice. "Where are your thistles?"

Grace explained:

"Like you, I was uncertain how to sow. Like you, I read the book of our Father. But I read that a new day had dawned and the ways of old had passed away, since the great sacrifice. I cried out in the night season for wisdom. I wept in the daytime for understanding. And the Father heard my cry. In a whisper one day, I heard him call me to his house, so I went. I spent many days in His house. I never once saw Him as a judge, but instead, he seemed to be the most loving person I've ever known. He instructed me that it was his mercy and goodness that brought people into his kingdom and best displayed his character. So I sowed shamrocks in abundance and the harvest is truly great.

Justice went home and considered his ways. He looked into his heart and saw things he didn't like. He went to His father's house and sought counsel. With a new heart, that winter he plowed his land and in the spring he sowed shamrocks.


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