There must be a thousand ways to bring the Kingdom of Heaven to Richmond, Virginia, but I hadn’t heard of this one, not until I got an email message from First Baptist member Shirley Jessup. Shirley says:
I’d like to tell you about Bonnie Blake. She’s one of my neighbors at Beth Sholom. She was a member of First Baptist many years ago, but moved her membership to a church on Southside closer to where she was living at the time. She now watches FBC each Sunday morning on TV, so I submitted her name to the Flower Committee to get an Easter lily. She was so moved by receiving a flower from “her” former church that she cried. She later told me she was so excited about it that she couldn’t wait to show it to her family.
Perhaps they didn’t think of it as a KOH event, but I think that’s what the Flower Committee brought to Bonnie.
That’s a simple thing, isn’t it? Shirley has a neighbor named Bonnie. She gets to know her, and discovers she used to be a member of First Baptist Church. When the church announces that it is accepting donations for Easter lilies Shirley donates one in Bonnie’s honor. And then one day a member of the Flower Committee shows up at Bonnie’s door, with a flower from her former church. And the tears begin to flow, and heaven comes to earth, because in that moment Bonnie has been reminded that she is a child of God.
How many times did Jesus tell parables about the Kingdom as a small thing, like a mustard seed, or a simple thing, like mixing yeast into dough, and yet he might say this is how the Kingdom comes—through small and simple things.
Like loving a neighbor enough to do something nice for her and discovering later that it wasn’t just a nice thing:
It was a Kingdom thing.