The message for June 13. 2021
Our reading for today comes from the gospel of Mark 4:26-34 and it goes like this; 26 He also said, “The kingdom of God is as if someone would scatter seed on the ground, 27 and would sleep and rise night and day, and the seed would sprout and grow, he does not know how. 28 The earth produces of itself, first the stalk, then the head, then the full grain in the head. 29 But when the grain is ripe, at once he goes in with his sickle, because the harvest has come.” 30 He also said, “With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable will we use for it? 31 It is like a mustard seed, which, when sown upon the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth; 32 yet 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.”
Last year was a tough year for those who like their lawns healthy and green. Between the heat and the lack of rain, many people experienced brown lawns. To make them green again, many people had to re-plant grass seed or paid a large amount of money to put down sod. Why would someone want sod verse seed? It is simple. They want instant results, with very little effort. Even though, sod can give instant results, there is no guarantee that the sod will remain green. Another hot summer with the lack of rain could easily bring us brown, burnt lawns once again.
Over the years, I have learned that sod is nice, but planting the right kind of grass seed can give you a stronger more resilient lawn. It takes time and patience, but the results are worth it. When I use the word patience, I wonder how many of you are thinking that patience is just not something that we enjoy, as we wish for instant results.
In our reading today, we have two parables about planting seeds. In the first parable, a man scatters seed upon the ground and would sleep and rise night and day and the seed should sprout and grow. The farmer does not know how, but knows that it will grow with time. The farmer has faith, patience and trusts that time will produce a yield. Time is the key word. In the parable, Jesus tells us that nothing in the kingdom of God is instant. All things in creation take time to grow in order to flourish with beauty. Perhaps, Jesus is reminding us about patience.
In our second parable, a mustard seed which is sown upon the ground, is the smallest of all seeds, but grows to become the greatest of all shrubs. Now, I don't know about you, but to me and most farmers, the mustard shrub is not a beautiful plant. However, it is a hardy and strong plant. In fact, most farmers struggle to remove mustard plants once they have taken root. In this parable, I would like to think that Jesus is showing us that our faith and the work of the Lord might start out like the mustard seed, but when it grows, it will grow strong and hardy which then becomes hard to be uprooted.
Now, many of you may wonder where I am going with the message from these two parables and the story of many wanting green lawns. Well, we as the faith communities of Central and First are currently planting new seeds of faith. We are figuring out ways to grow the in-reach and outreach of our churches through sharing the work of our ministries. The seeds we are planting will take time to grow. So, we are like the farmer who scattered seeds and would sleep and rise night and day and would see the seeds sprout and grow. Eventhough, we may not know how our seeds are growing in our community, with time and faith they will grow wonderful programs of faith.
The seeds we are planting, through the various small groups made up from both of our faith communities, have started out small. In fact, we started by simply sharing in online worship through the pandemic. From that simple act of sharing our resources through a challenging place in time, we have planted a mustard seed of faith. Our time together has grown strong. We still remain independent as Central United and First United, but our bonds to do the work of God have become intertwined. We as the communities of First and Central have lifted the work of God in ways that are building a strong foundation for our future.
More importantly, the seeds of faith that we are planting together is showing both our faith communities as well as the larger community of St Thomas that we believe in God’s love. A love that is shown and acted upon through our co-operation together. Our co-operation or sharing in ministry is a message that will, with time, get out to the greater community through respect, trust, kindness and fairness for all people.
Right now, more than ever, our world needs to see love. After this past week’s devastating hate crime towards a family simply because of their beliefs, we need to be a part of the solution that grows seeds of love, kindness, trust, and peace in our community. We have started planting these seeds through our shared ministry talks, but let’s keep going. Let’s keep planting seeds that will strengthen our work to project the love that God has always wanted for all people of the world, regardless of belief or race. We are all children of God!
Today, as we plant our seeds, let us take time this week to pray for the Afzaal family and the Muslim community who suffered a great loss this past week. Let us also pray for the many other people who also have suffered because of hate. Let us be people of God’s love.