Good Morning!(Sorry to have missed you all yesterday – I left early in the morning for a reef snorkeling excursion; had a great birthday!)
30 He also said, ‘With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable will we use for it? 31It is like a mustard seed, which, when sown upon the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth; 32yet when it is sown it grows up and becomes the greatest of all shrubs, and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade.’
Jesus continues with the comparison to sowing seeds – he has spoken of the soil prepared, or not prepared, to receive the seed; of the receivers of the seed; and of the One who makes the seed to grow. In this parable, he speaks of the seed itself. The Kingdom of God is like a mustard seed, the smallest seed the people he was speaking to knew (maybe not the “smallest seed on earth” – this is the hyperbole commonly used in parables). In another place he speaks of the mustard seed related to faith – if you have faith as much as a mustard seed – speaking of something really small. Mr. Gary had mustard seeds for the children to plant at Vacation Bible School; they were so tiny little hands had trouble picking them up.
But how can one compare the Kingdom of God to a mustard seed? It begins in each one of us with a “small” thing – a word, a kindness, love, the Story of Jesus; and it grows in our hearts until we become a part of something greater – and others join us – and the Kingdom continues to grow! And we plant a seed in another person’s heart – and the Kingdom continues to grow! We don’t make it grow – God does that, as Jesus pointed out in the previous parable – but we must sow the seed, tiny though our seed may be!
Above Nazareth there is a mountain, with a cliff, where the gospels say the people of Nazareth tried to push Jesus off. When we went there, our guide pointed out a bush with yellow flowers, a fairly large bush, that she said was a mustard plant.