The treasure hidden in the field, the pearl of great price, the burning bush that invites us to turn aside. The kingdom of God is all around us – and even within us – but we often miss it. Caught up in the cares and concerns of our day-to-day life, we lose sight of this wondrous gift. The poem offered here by R.S. Thomas, a priest and poet from Wales, invites us to turn aside once again, to the eternity that awaits us. God’s word also invites us to turn aside, and to re-discover this gift. When we spend time in God’s word, we root ourselves more deeply in this truth, and become like the tree planted by streams of water, which yields fruit in its season, and whose leaves do not wither.
To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul. In you, O God, I place my trust. Help me now to quiet myself and listen, that the thoughts and prayers of my heart might be pleasing to you. Amen
Happy are those who do not follow the advice of the wicked,
or take the path that sinners tread,
or sit in the seat of scoffers;
but their delight is in the law of the Lord,
and on his law they meditate day and night.
They are like trees planted by streams of water,
which yield their fruit in its season,
and their leaves do not wither.
In all that they do, they prosper.
The wicked are not so,
but are like chaff that the wind drives away.
Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;
for the Lord watches over the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked will perish.
The angel of the Lord appeared to [Moses] in a flame of fire out of a bush; he looked, and the bush was blazing, yet it was not consumed. Then Moses said, “I must turn aside and look at this great sight, and see why the bush is not burned up.” – Exodus 3:2-3
Jesus said: “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which someone found and hid; then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls; on finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it.” – Matthew 13:44-46
Devotional Poem: “The Bright Field” by R.S. Thomas
I have seen the sun break through
to illuminate a small field
for a while, and gone my way
and forgotten it. But that was the
pearl of great price, the one field that had
treasure in it. I realize now
that I must give all that I have
to possess it. Life is not hurrying
on to a receding future, nor hankering after
an imagined past. It is the turning
aside like Moses to the miracle
of the lit bush, to a brightness
that seemed as transitory as your youth
once, but is the eternity that awaits you.
Eternity awaits us, Lord, and is here with us now, but we miss it. I miss it. I hurry on to my receding future and miss the pearl of great price. Help me, Lord, to find the treasure that is your kingdom, and to turn aside from my hectic life so that I can receive this gift. Help me, Lord, to spend time with your word, to treasure it, and to take delight in it. Help me, Lord, to place myself by the streams of your grace, that I might yield your fruit in its season. In Jesus’ name. Amen
This poem and others by R.S. Thomas can be found in a collection of his poems that I own and love called R.S. Thomas: Everyman’s Poetry.