Again He said, “What shall we say the kingdom of God is like,
or what parable shall we use to describe it?
It is like a mustard seed, which is the smallest of all seeds on earth.
Yet when planted, it grows…
Pliny the Elder, a 1st century Roman author and naturalist, wrote in his encyclopedia, Natural History, about the nature of the mustard seed:
“…And mustard, which has so pungent a flavour, that it burns like fire, though at the same time it is remarkably wholesome for the body. This last, though it will grow without cultivation, is considerably improved by being transplanted; though, on the other hand, it is extremely difficult to rid the soil of it when once sown there, the seed when it falls germinating immediately.”
In other words, the mustard seed grows like a weed.
The Kingdom of God, Jesus tells us in our Mark 4 lectionary text, is like a weed.
Once it gets started, it’s going to grow.
Once a weed grows, it’s going to spread.
Once it spreads, it’s pretty nigh to impossible to get rid of it.
My mother-in-law’s front yard garden area which for years has been a beautiful oasis
of dogwoods, azaleas, and Shasta daisies, is at present being taken over by dollar weed.
Wisteria, with it’s beautiful purple flowers, engulfed a stand of trees behind our house
by growing up their trunks and shading out their leaves,
stunting their growth and eventually leading to their decline and demise.
Kudzu…well, let’s just say you don’t want to walk too slowly past kudzu!
Kudzu is sometimes called “foot-a-night-vine” and “mile-a-minute vine”
because it grows amazingly fast and engulfs everything in its path.
Those of us who garden, battle weeds on the regular.
So, why, of all the examples would Jesus choose a weed to represent the Kingdom of God?
Weeds are at worst an unwelcome threat to the health of a garden or farm
and at best a time consuming inconvenience.
Weeds disrupt the planned planted and desired ecosystem
of our creation and endanger it’s continued growth.
Weeds are unwelcome…threatening…inconvenient…disrupting…dangerous…
Yes, Lord, yes.
We have ears, help us to hear.
Your Kingdom, not ours. Your will, not mine.
Unwelcome, yes. Threatening, yes. Inconvenient, definitely.
Disrupting, without a doubt. Dangerous…yes.
The seed of Your kingdom puts at risk our controlled and controllable creation.
We often celebrate Paul’s reminder that in You we are a new creation, the old has passed,
everything has become new.
Yet, we forget that the passing and the becoming may not be easy, may not be comfortable,
We have ears Lord, help us to hear.
Your Kingdom is like a mustard seed, that when planted grows…
Grant us the courage to receive Your Kingdom that we may grow Your Kingdom.
Grant us the courage to be overtaken, overrun, displaced, and even destroyed,
Growing with you and thankful for you,
If you would like to view past editions of Grace for the Journey, follow this link: https://fairwaydistrictnc.org/category/from-the-ds/