Thy Kingdom Come is a global wave of prayer uniting Christians around the world during the days from Ascension Day to Pentecost. From 30 May to 9 June 2019, Exeter Cathedral hosted a special prayer room in the Grandisson Chapel tucked into the West Front.
Based on the parable of the hidden treasure, I set up a small installation with a simple action to help people pray. Others contributed poems, like these from RS Thomas and Mary Oliver, and there were booklets to take away and midday prayer each day.
Matthew 13:44 (adapted)
The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which I have found and hid. In my joy I am going to go and sell all that I have, and buy that field.
In your imagination, try applying the parable to yourself. Read it slowly and chew over it. How does it lead your thoughts? How do you feel? What does the kingdom of heaven and the treasure mean to you? What does ‘selling all that I have’ mean?
Although the parable speaks of joy, there may also be sorrow. We may have found a great treasure, but is there a lesser treasure that we want to hold onto and need to give up? Or maybe we have found the treasure and bought the field in the past, but we have wasted it, or it has lost its shine for us. Is there something we need to let go of again?
It is important to recognise the obstacles and the sorrows. Selling, giving up, letting go – these often spark grief. Or you could say that grief is a necessary part of the letting go.
If you feel the need to express your letting go in this way – sometimes we only realise we need something in the doing of it – please write on a tear drop to acknowledge what you are giving up, or write a prayer that expresses how you feel. Perhaps you would like to use the prayer below as you place it within the river.
You are not alone. Your tears are mingled with those of many other people within the stream of living water that is God’s love.
O God, Treasure of Treasures, you reveal glimmers of yourself and your kingdom in surprising places at unexpected times. I do not always find it easy to recognise them, and sometimes there is so much that I want to cling onto that I find it hard to let go. So be with me now, in my joy and in my grief, as I choose the greater treasure; and help me to remember this time and place whenever the glimmers become faint. Amen.