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The Mustard Seed

"The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard see 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."
- Matthew 13:31-32

     One of those beautiful and well known parables, arguably, is this one. Jesus is on the side of the mountain, teaching the crowds with parables. He is taking something well known and comparing it to the mysteries of his kingdom.  Right from the get-go of his teachings we are able to see and know that the kingdom he preaches his not a normal kingdom. It is not an overpowering and harsh ruling kingdom, nor is it a kingdom of hard labor and heavy yokes. Rather, it is a kingdom, that is humble, has wheat and weeds, produces hundred folds, and is a kingdom focused on the other. It is a kingdom of others; a kingdom looking outwards of it self finding ways to help everyone, excluding no one. The king of this kingdom, also, marks the biggest difference. 

    He is not the over powering king that forces people into his kingdom and rule. Rather Jesus is a king of freedom and justice, inclusion and humility. He is a king that was born for others; he was was born in the trough of a stable, and made himself the food for his people. He was a king born into poverty, who came peacefully of a donkey and a king who was born to sacrifice himself for his beloved people.

     The parable of the mustard seed is firstly meant, as most biblical scholars agree, about how at the time of Jesus 'the way' or the Christian communities, would have a small beginning ( as was when Jesus was teaching.. 12 men for the entire world.) Yet, regardless of how insignificant it seems now, it will produce and grow into a great shrub, a large tree to house birds of the air. It is and always will be a mystery of how twelve simple, poor men, were able to transform the entire world and bring to life the full mission of Christ. 

    Similarly, we too, are called to continue to grow and take care of the mustard seed. We are called to expand the branches of the kingdom more and more into our homes, communities, cities and countries.  The seed of faith is growing weaker and weaker in our western society and their is a strong need for us to really stretch out the branches of the church to allow people to find their homes, themselves, and their joy in Jesus Christ. 

    The seed of the church grows with every good action done. The joy of faith in Jesus, by its very nature, is enticing and contagious. When brought into a world stained with saddness and emptiness, it can thrive and return to people a conviction of belonging and importance. The joy of Jesus is a joy that is brought by knowing him firstly as a friend. 

    The way we communicate this joy is in itself how we grow the seed of the kingdom. The kingdom is grown in the actions of joy and sincerity. The kingdom flourishes when one makes themselves open to others, vulnerable to the community, wanting to help. Either through the simple everyday kind actions carried through individuals or through the elaborate actions of groups, we can communicate the joy of Jesus Christ in many ways. For the seed of the kingdom, the joy of Jesus, is not limited to one way of communication, but grows and is nourished by the many different ways. 

Each of us are called to take part in growing the seed of the kingdom of God. Not the kingdom of harsh rules and desperate pleas of survival, but a kingdom lively and filled with joy, genuinely caring for all peoples. The tree is grown through the attractive nature of the joy that each and everyone brings to each new day and situation. 

The first step, is to begin with a smile, and see the effects that will have. 

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