When I think of buried treasure, images of pirates or shipwrecked vessels at the bottom of the sea come to mind. This morning’s gospel from Matthew 13 would seem to make the search easier as the treasure is to be found “buried in a field” or in a jewelry store (“a pearl of great price”) but “not so fast”, I say to myself as a cartoon figure appears with a shovel on the edge of a huge expanse of rolling fields. And I’m not a great judge of the quality of gems either!
So how to find the “kingdom of God” has to be a different kind of search. Jesus gives the answer somewhere else, as we know, when he says: The kingdom of God is within you. Looking inside for God is not normally where we go first. Many of us were taught to look in church, where God actually does live, of course. But we need to spend our time there not complaining about less than stellar preaching or wondering why parents don’t teach their children proper attire for church services. We need to be consciously seeking the interior experience that is available to us in the ritual itself and in the community as it is engaged with our own moment of recognition of God’s presence.
And how is it that we miss that pearl of great price as we walk down the street and see God passing by in the eyes of a child or a person disguised as someone different from ourselves? Consciousness is the key, I think. We have not arrived here on earth to walk alone toward that field and we don’t even have to come equipped with our own shovel. We have everything we need to find God; we just need to wake up – first to the field and then to the treasure when we see it. For some – maybe most – of us it takes a lifetime. Maybe that’s how it should be since the treasure is so great a reward.
Today I am thinking that our greatest task, when we understand how willing God is to give us the map, is to wake up ourselves and then share the directions to the treasure with others, especially younger people who are searching and ripe to find what we know. There’s another reason to stay awake: to look into young eyes and recognize a yearning for truth and love – and to share the joy of that treasure every day of our lives.