The Mustard Seed, by Christine Hides
He said therefore, “What is the kingdom of God like? And to what should I compare it? It is like a mustard seed that someone took and sowed in the garden; it grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air made nests in its branches.” Luke 13:18–19
Reflection: This parable has a special place in my heart. Three and a half years ago, I shared it during children’s chapel to interview for my first position here at Kenilworth Union. I took some stretchy bands of green cloth and formed them into a tree-like shape. As I told the story the children stretched the branches farther and farther over the pews in Schmidt Chapel. Then I asked the children to imagine the kingdom of God. What did it look, sound, smell, feel, and taste like? I will never forget that one child told me heaven smelled like fresh bread sticks.
Christian hope requires both imagination and participation. Imagination enables us to begin to envision the fulfillment of God’s purposes for all creation, or the kingdom of God. In this parable, a seed that grows beyond our expectations, a haven of life for the birds of the air. Imagination stirs in us a yearning for what God is creating, a craving for taste and smell of the bread of heaven.
Participation is our response to this kingdom “unlike any we have ever known” (Jerome Berryman). “Someone” in this parable actively participates in growing God’s vision by planting the tiny seed. What do we imagine this kingdom looks, sounds, smells, feels, and tastes like? What seeds of love and life might we plant this Lenten season?
Christ our hope, stretch our imagination.
Inspire our participation.