A string of parables describe the kingdom of heaven, and then we hear Jesus’ question: “Have you understood all this?” The mustard seed, yeast, hidden treasure, pearls—these bring good news of growth and joy and riches. Then come the fish, the furnace of fire, and the weeping and gnashing of teeth. Once again this week we hear of a God of mercy and justice. Once again there is good news to be heard in Paul’s letter to the church at Rome—nothing will ever separate us from God’s love in Christ Jesus. How will we reconcile these two images of God?”

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