When the kingdom becomes clear

Last Sunday’s gospel was St. Mark’s version of the sower who scatters seed, a metaphor for the manner in which the Kingdom of God comes to be in this world. This was followed up by the story of the mustard seed. Both are meant to hold up the idea of the Kingdom of God and get us to think about what we hope for. In the first story, a sower scatters seed on the ground, and then goes off to sleep. The seeds fend for themselves and when the grain is ripe, the gardener harvests it. In the second story, someone sows a tiny mustard seed in the ground, and it grows into a gigantic bush, large enough to offer birds shelter in its branches. As is the case with all of Jesus’s parables, these are intended not to keep us comfortable and complacent, but to prod and provoke us into wholly different ways of perceiving and relating to what is sacred. Continue reading