Third Sunday after Pentecost: Proper 6
June 13, 2021
First Reading: 1 Samuel 15:34-16:13
Second Reading: 2 Corinthians 5:6-10, 11-13, 14-17
Gospel: Mark 4:26-34
Keep, O Lord, your household the Church in your steadfast faith and love, that through your grace we may proclaim your truth with boldness, and minister your justice with compassion; for the sake of our Savior Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen
“HOW BIG IS THE KINGDOM OF GOD”
In our Gospel today, Jesus is explaining to the crowds and the disciples about the kingdom of God.
“With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable will we use for it? It is like a mustard seed, which, when sown upon the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth, 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 nest in its shade.”
In the US and world today, billions of seeds are planted. Just how important is seed to us and the world? Everything! Did you ever look at it and think about the millions of people and animals that benefit from seed?
The harvest of corn, soy barley, beans, alfalfa, apples, oranges, potatoes and numerous others, that we and other nations produce and send to our poorest of nations.
And the forest fires that occur every year, but within a few years the seeds of the trees are sprouting and new trees, new life began to grow to re-plenish the forest.
The forest is so important for the environment, but also for building of homes, furniture, ships.
The Rain Forest. Has produced important drugs that treat malaria, glaucoma, anesthetics, muscle relaxant for surgery, also drugs to treat muscle disorders like Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis. Pediatric leukemia, Hodgkin’s disease.
You see now, just how big the kingdom of God is!
I’ll take this from a movie and say “The Greatest Story Every Told” is the story of Jesus Christ, how God sent him to the world…. Jesus is God’s kingdom and his disciples spread the good news, the more the story grew to be;
“The greatest of all shrubs, and that puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade.”
This my friends is God working through us, to provide branches of his love, shelter, food and clothing for his beloved kingdom.
I haven’t always understood these parables until now, but the disciples understood, He would speak to them in private and explain to them.
When I read it and re-read it, to find his meaning, for some reason I always focused on the mustard seed and how small it was, to grown into the greatest of all shrubs.
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. The kingdom of God is everything, it is bigger than our minds even know how to imagine.
In the Gospel of Matthew 13, the 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 want them re-moved, because they were weeds in his field.
Jesus is saying, it is hard to separate the good from the bad, but as 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.
If we look and 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 every day in his kingdom, that is bigger than we ever thought.
In Romans: 8:28-30, 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.
Conclusion and Good News.
We are in communion with Christ Jesus, and God’s kingdom lives in each one of us. It is comforting to know that through us, God’s kingdom will continue to grow.
Last year we were not together in the church and we missed our music and the liturgy, we prayed for the world and our community for healing, strength and that we could be back together again.
2 Corinthians says, we are always confident; even though we know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord—for we walk by faith, not by sight.
We also know 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, things that are too small, 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!
The Rev. Lola Culbreath