From God's fullness we have all received, grace upon grace
Guided meditation: An Ordinary Kingdom

Guided meditation: An Ordinary Kingdom


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.

Matthew 13.44 (NRSV)



Take up a posture that is comfortable and close your eyes.

I will start with a body awareness exercise, then I will read the short parable of the treasure hidden in a field. I will read it three times, each time changed slightly in different ways, and after each reading there will be a few minutes of silence.

Don’t prejudge each reading and what you think you will find in it. Each is a gift to be received. Ask the Spirit to speak through the parable.
On one reading a word or phrase might snag at you. Stay with the word, repeat it to yourself, relish it, let it sink in to your heart.
On another reading you might want to chew over the whole parable or imagine the story in your mind’s eye. How does it lead your thoughts? How do you feel?
Or one particular reading might resonate with you so that you stay with it for longer.
Offer to God whatever is in your heart, and allow God to respond.

So first, spend some time becoming aware of unacknowledged sensations in your body . . . of the touch of your clothes on your shoulders . . . of the touch of your clothes on your back . . . of your back touching the back of your chair . . .
Now become aware of the feel of your hands maybe resting on your lap . . . of your thighs against your chair . . . of your feet in your shoes, resting on the ground. . .
Now become explicitly aware of your sitting posture . . .

Once more: your shoulders . . . your back . . . your right hand . . . your left hand . . . your right thigh . . . your left thigh . . . your right foot . . . your left foot . . . your sitting posture . . .

Again: shoulders . . . back . . . right hand . . . left hand . . . right thigh . . . left thigh . . . right foot . . . left foot . . . sitting posture . . .

Continue to go round the parts of your body dwelling on each. Feel the sensation of each part for a second or two and then move to the next part: shoulders, back, hands . . . Keep moving . . .

The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which I found and hid; then in my joy I go and sell all that I have and buy that field
. . .

The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which I am seeking. When I find it I will
. . .

The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which God found and hid; then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field
. . .

Now return gradually to an awareness of the sensations in your body and your posture . . .
When you are ready, open your eyes.

An optional closing prayer

O God, Treasure of Treasures, you reveal glimmers of yourself and your kingdom in surprising places at unexpected times. We do not always find it easy to recognise them, and sometimes there is so much that we want to cling onto that we find it hard to let go. So be with us, in our joys and in our sorrows, as we choose the greater treasure; and help us to remember this time and place whenever the glimmers become faint. Amen.



This is the fourth of a series of meditations drawing on Everyday God: The Spirit of the Ordinary by Paula Gooder, one of the books which the Slow Book Group at Exeter Cathedral has been reading. The book is divided into six sections, for reflection over the six months between June and November 2022 (Ordinary Time in the Church’s calendar). The theme of Section 4 is “An Ordinary Kingdom”.

The idea for the meditation partly came from past encouragement from a wise guide: to try changing the pronouns in a passage and see what happens. It also came from a recent Shared Lectio on this parable and the pearl of great price, when I suddenly realised that the kingdom of heaven might be coming in me, that the treasure or pearl might be me, and God is the one who treasures me and gives all for my sake. I left the masculine pronouns in the reading as they could apply to Jesus’ life and death.

The body awareness exercise at the beginning is based on Exercise 2 in Anthony de Mello’s Sadhana: A Way to God, Christian Exercises in Eastern Form (pdf). I wrote the optional closing prayer for Thy Kingdom Come in 2019.