Day 58 May 16, 2020
Finally, a Saturday without snow! The temperature has risen, and I have planted some seeds in my raised garden beds. I have lettuce, spinach and radishes up. I am going to plant onion sets soon along with other vegetables. I enjoy this process. Out of tiny seeds comes a harvest of fresh produce. I look at those tiny lettuce seeds and wonder how they produce such nice leafy plants. This takes me to some of the parables of Jesus. Today I am looking at a couple parables in Mark about seeds and the kingdom of God.
Mark 4:26-33 More parables about God’s kingdom (CEB)
26 Then Jesus said, “This is what God’s kingdom is like. It’s as though someone scatters seed on the ground, 27 then sleeps and wakes night and day. The seed sprouts and grows, but the farmer doesn’t know how. 28 The earth produces crops all by itself, first the stalk, then the head, then the full head of grain. 29 Whenever the crop is ready, the farmer goes out to cut the grain because it’s harvest time.” 30 He continued, “What’s a good image for God’s kingdom? What parable can I use to explain it? 31 Consider a mustard seed. When scattered on the ground, it’s the smallest of all the seeds on the earth; 32 but when it’s planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all vegetable plants. It produces such large branches that the birds in the sky are able to nest in its shade.” 33 With many such parables he continued to give them the word, as much as they were able to hear.
26 Then Jesus said, "God's kingdom is like seed thrown on a field by a man 27 who then goes to bed and forgets about it. The seed sprouts and grows - he has no idea how it happens. 28 The earth does it all without his help: first a green stem of grass, then a bud, then the ripened grain. 29 When the grain is fully formed, he reaps - harvest time! 30 "How can we picture God's kingdom? What kind of story can we use? 31 It's like a pine nut. When it lands on the ground it is quite small as seeds go, 32 yet once it is planted it grows into a huge pine tree with thick branches. Eagles nest in it." 33 With many stories like these, he presented his message to them, fitting the stories to their experience and maturity.
Jesus was a great storyteller using parables as his main teaching tool. He knew that people liked stories, and who of us does not like stories? His parables were not always easily understood. He made use of this communication tool to talk about the good news of God’s kingdom and God’s love.
“Our notion of plant growth is one of continuity and process in which each stage yields to the next. But it is not continuity alone which is emphasized here; it is also contrast. There is a contrast between the seed as it is cast upon the earth and the subsequent appearance of blade, ear and grain. The seed is frail, vulnerable, and insignificant when compared to the harvest.” (The Parables of Jesus: Glimpses of The New Age page 97)
The New Age of God’s kingdom started out as a small seed, germinated, and has grown into the present day multi branched huge tree. We trust the growing process when we plant seeds in the ground. God’s hand is found in the movement of history, as well as in the recesses of the soil. How is your spiritual garden growing?
Holy God, planter of seeds, nurturer of the soil, we continue to trust the mysterious process of growth in your kingdom and your love for us. May we do our part to plant more seeds for your kingdom. Lord, hear our prayers. Amen
Today: seeds of hope