Growing Like a Weed
"Jesus also said, “With what can we compare the [realm] of God … It is like a mustard seed, which, when sown upon the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth; yet …""
Mark 4: 30-32
Yet … A curious word, I think. Seems to imply something still coming, a mystery, but not … yet … fully here? The seed parables of Jesus are ‘that’ for me, are about ‘yet.’ The ‘mustard seed’ especially.
Rev. Dr. William Willimon suggests a unique ‘take’ on this parable, revealing Jesus’ subtle sense of humor to enlighten his listeners, and us. His interpretation goes like this: “The Realm of God is like the planting of a mustard seed, the smallest of seeds. And yet, when it is planted and germinates, it grows and grows to become … a weed, about a foot (or two) high.” That’s basically what it is for farmers in the Midwest. Not exactly the greatest image for the realm of God … or of us as those who follow this Jesus and the leading of the Spirit. Yet … Maybe?
Jesus is reminding us that God is not impressed by the world’s standards, but is interested in the small seemingly insignificant ways the world is transformed by those who would seem to be the ‘smallest’ and ‘least powerful,’ maybe even us. Rev. Willimon writes: “It is an image of great comfort. Through the miraculous workings of God, newness is growing, sprouting, taking root, cropping up all over.”
I recall a vivid image from a trip through the mountains of Colorado with my younger brother some years ago, when we chanced upon a quintessential ranch homestead: log-built home, barns, wood fences around acres of meadow for grazing cattle and horses. Yet … what was most impressive was the mass of yellow flowers which blanketed those meadows, absolutely gorgeous. As we drove closer, the ‘source’ of those amazing blankets of yellow was undeniable: DANDELIONS! … ACRES AND ACRES of them! WEEDS … popping up here, there, and everywhere! Stunning in their majestic beauty … and pesky weediness.
Could that be one way of understanding what the realm of God yet might be like for us in this complex and confusing time? Could that be how we might yet share the Good News? Share God’s inclusive and grace-filled love for all? Here … There … Everywhere … Even now …?
A church that I served as an interim closed their worship each Sunday with the words of John Wesley: “Do all the good you can, By all the means you can, In all the ways you can, In all the places you can, At all the times you can, with all the people you can, As long as ever you can.” Sounds kind of ‘weedy’ to me, kind of like the pesky Spirit popping up all over … for us … through us … here, there, everywhere … Yet …
Prayer: Holy One, help us to embrace your “Yet …” in and through our lives, that we might share the Good News of your Love for all in all that we do as best we are able. By the peskiness of you, Holy Spirit, we pray. Amen.