Sermon - July 26, 2020 - St. Martin's In the Desert

Roadside trees

Sermon – July 26, 2020


Sunday closest to July 27, 2020
Year A
July 26, 2020

First Reading: Genesis 29:15-28
Psalm 105:1-11, 45b
Romans: 8:26-39 
Gospel: Matthew 13:31-33,44-52

God’s Purpose will Prevail

The Collect:

O, God, the protector of all who trust in you, without whom nothing is strong, nothing is holy: Increase and multiply upon us your mercy; that, with you as our ruler and guide, we may so pass through things temporal, that we lose not the things eternal; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

The Gospel:

Matthew 13:31-33,44-52

In our Gospel today, Jesus is explaining to the crowds and the disciples about the kingdom of heaven.

Jesus put before the crowds another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that someone took and sowed in his field; it is the smallest of all the seeds, but when it has grown it is the greatest of shrubs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.” 

Jesus talks about 5 different parables regarding the kingdom of heaven.

“The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour until all of it was leavened.”

“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 net that was thrown into the sea and caught fish of every kind; when it was full, they drew it ashore, sat down, and put the good into baskets but threw our the bad. So, it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil form the righteous. 

Just Where is the Kingdom of Heaven?

I haven’t always understood these parables. The disciples understood. He is speaking their language where they could understand him. 

When I read it and re-read it, to find his meaning, Oh, wow, for some reason I always focused on the mustard seed and how small it was to grown into a big tree. With that parable and the others to follow, he tells us just how big the kingdom of heaven is.  He is saying, it is not far off in a distance, or up there, or somewhere out there. 

Mustard seeds are so small that they can go un-noticed when planting wheat and the farmer would sow his wheat and soon a mustard seed would sprout up with the wheat. The farmer of course would what them re-moved.

Jesus is saying, it is hard to separate the good from the bad, but has his kingdom grows and like the smallest of the seeds, become the biggest in the field, to offer shade and comfort to the smallest of birds. (people) Showing us and the people at that time, how God is at work in the world. 

Jesus goes on to describe growth of the mustard seed and the flour mixed with the yeast and it turns out to be leavened bread. Yeast was used for many reasons during the time of Jesus and it was not positive. Its symbolized impurity, evil and unclean.  But we also see how it grows, God’s kingdom grows, infiltrating all of creation and the world.

If we look and try to see God’s beautiful creation, imagining his presence it all things. His love is in all things, all people of race and color.  Yes, just like the field of wheat, the seeds are difficult to see and the bad mixed in with the good, it is difficult to separate out.  God is telling us, it is not your job to do that, I will do that when I send the angels and they will separate the evil from the righteous.

Jesus wanted them, to see that it was a way to describe, how God is growing in the community and working in them to spreading the news of how God grows in each one of us.

The problem with us, is we don’t see God in all places and in all things. We only look for God when we need him, we don’t realize that God is working in us everyday in his kingdom that is bigger than we ever thought. 

In Romans, we see that Paul says, all things work together for good for those who love God.

People are God’s creation and we can’t be separated from his creations we have been called and we are glorified in him.

Romans: 8:28-30

We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed 

to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn within a large family. And those whom he called; and those whom he called he also justified; and those whom he justified he also glorified.

“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. “ 

Paul means, not that all circumstances of this life are good for us, God’s love is reaffirmed; despite all present adversities, and that amid all these things God’s purpose prevails.

Conclusion and Good News. 

The kingdom of God is as far as the ocean is wide and deep, the highest of the mountains and into space. We can’t even imagine the how big his kingdom is, because our minds do not reach that far.

Because we are in communion with Christ Jesus, God’s kingdom lives in each one of us and it is comforting to know that through us, God’s kingdom will continue to grow.

We are not gatherer together in churches today. We miss our music and liturgy and we pray that we can all return soon, it does help bring us together with singing, music and with each other in the church the building, But, remember   “that nothing will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”   And God’s purpose will prevail!

Jesus, help us to remember not to focus on things that are on the surface, but to focus on what is eternal and to not live in the artificial world, but to live for the spiritual world which is where we find our strength and our salvation in God’s kingdom! 

Rev. Lola Culbreath