The Mustard Seed

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Father Ted’s sermon last week used as its basis the parable of the mustard seed. He expanded on the theme of something great and wonderful and sustaining growing from a very small and humble beginning. He also spoke of our need to identify our “mission,” that which we are called to do as Christians for other people in our community and the world. We’re all encouraged to reflect on what we might concentrate on as our mission in the coming weeks as we get ready to welcome new people, and new opportunities for service when the new school year begins. The Groundwork materials (print out PDF here) will come into play in this discernment process, and we as a congregation will be meeting and discussing our options, hopes, and fears.

The parable of the mustard seed has become a kind of shorthand for starting something on shoestring, and also for service to others. A Google search on the phrase “Mustard Seed” yields links to The Mustard Seed Foundation
, a Christian grant-making foundation, Mustard Seed Communities, an aid organization for handicapped and abandoned children, and Mustard Seed Associates, a Christian “intententional living” organization with ties to the environmental, peace, and fair trade movements.

All these things lead back to the same tiny seed. A childhood memory is always triggered when I hear the parable of the mustard seed: my mother owns an old necklace that has a round crystal globe containing a mustard seed, set around with a sterling silver band and chain, very much like the one in the illustration. She was given the necklace by an elderly aunt when my mother was going through a “rough patch.” She is a woman of faith who can talk to God as easily in her garden as she can in a church – for her, the seed stands for her faith that from the tiniest beginnings, anyone can accomplish absolutely anything.

Since the readings were omitted last week, here it is:

Matthew 13:31-33,44-49a

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.”

He told them another parable: “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 merchant in search of fine pearls; on finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it.

“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 out the bad. So it will be at the end of the age.”


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