Growing Up Christian: The Power of a Blessing 6/10/12

Let me ask you a question before we read our scripture reading this morning.  What would you think of as the greatest of all God’s plants?  If you wanted to talk about the grandest, tallest, or most majestic of all growth in God’s creation, what would use for an example? A sequoia, a cedar, a fir tree?

 

Mark 4: 26-34; 26-29 Then Jesus said, “God’s kingdom is like seed thrown on a field by a man who then goes to bed and forgets about it. The seed sprouts and grows—he has no idea how it happens. The earth does it all without his help: first a green stem of grass, then a bud, then the ripened grain. When the grain is fully formed, he reaps—harvest time! 30-32″How can we picture God’s kingdom? What kind of story can we use? It’s like a pine nut. When it lands on the ground it is quite small as seeds go, yet once it is planted it grows into a huge pine tree with thick branches. Eagles nest in it.” 33-34With many stories like these, he presented his message to them, fitting the stories to their experience and maturity. He was never without a story when he spoke. When he was alone with his disciples, he went over everything, sorting out the tangles, untying the knots.

June 10, 2012

Growing Up Christian: The Power of a Blessing

 

The kingdom of God is like a grain of mustard seed, which, when sown upon the ground is the smallest of all the seeds on earth; yet when it is sown it grows up and becomes the greatest of all shrubs. Jesus was messing with us right? It’s not that there weren’t any big trees in his part of the world.  The Bible usually talks about the mighty cedars of Lebanon.  When they want to give an example of a big, majestic tree, the writers of the Bible often talk about those great cedar trees.

Instead Jesus uses the example of a mustard shrub. Why would he do that?  The seed is rather small, not the smallest, but pretty small. The shrub is definitely not that big, not that impressive.  Any idea why Jesus would use the mustard shrub as his comparison for what the kingdom of God is like?

The mustard shrub was very common. It may not have been big, but it was a weed. It grew everywhere. Jesus was saying that the kingdom of God grows where it will, how it will. We don’t control it. We don’t know how it happens. But the kingdom of God is all around us, in everyday things like a loaf of bread or a cup of juice. The kingdom of God is in the small items of everyday life.

Now, Jesus did not have in mind the height of the people we are baptizing and confirming today. He wasn’t really talking about size, you see. He was talking about the Kingdom of God and the ubiquity of the Spirit. He was saying that God works through the big and the small, through the extraordinary and the everyday.

It reminds me of something a counsellor said to me at summer camp many years ago, when I was a little younger than you three are today. He let me know that he cared about me and appreciated me at camp, and he said “Don’t wait to be a man to be great. Be a great boy.”

In this rite of passage today, we recognize you three as reaching a certain age of maturity. You are youth now, on your way to becoming adults. But you don’t have to wait to become who God wants you to be. The vows you took today are promises to become who God wants you to be now.

So I met with each of the youth week before last and I asked them where they have experienced the presence of God during our process of confirmation. They gave us lovely mustard seed type answers. Let me play very short snippets from their answers for you.  Brian talked about experiencing God on our trip to New York:

The kingdom of God present in sleeping on the hard floor of a church Sunday school room!

Grayson spoke about the mustard seed of a ticking clock:

The kingdom of God present in silence and meditation.

Harleigh spoke about the mustard seed of common boxes that hold your possessions:

The kingdom of God present in heartbreak and a new start.

I thank God for you three joining St. Luke Church and making your journey part of God’s journey.  I pray that God will be with you every step of the way, in the hard times and the happy times; in the great successes and especially in the time of painful failure or times of need. I pray that God will be there when you need help, and especially when you are able to offer help to somebody else.

May you find the kingdom of God in the mustard seed and the rainbow; in the sun and the rain; in the love of family and in the middle of any messy disappointments you find along the way. Find the mustard seed every day, in every relationship, in every activity, in school, in work, at home, in church. The kingdom of God be with every day of your lives.

This is God’s good news.  Amen.

Responsive Hymn: 2051 I Was There to Hear Your Borning Cry